Instant Messaging Overview Page 5
From a Corporate Perspective
Like it or not IM has invaded the enterprise and corporate America.
Retailers, like LL Bean, use custom forms of IM as "instant access to a customer service rep"; corporate employees use AIM for access to colleagues, suppliers and customers during business hours (with or without the knowledge of the IS organization); and other enterprises have deployed robust IM products, like Jabber, companywide for in-house collaboration.
Corporate IM is rapidly becoming a part of today's business. An estimated 180 million business users currently use some sort of IM product, and industry analysts predict that 70 percent of enterprises will be using IM by 2003.
If you haven't gotten on the IM bandwagon just yet, it's important to note that the terms corporate messaging, Internet messaging, and corporate instant messaging are often used interchangeably. And it's not just business users, even vendor representatives sometimes use these terms synonymously.
Although IM clearly belongs under the "enterprise messaging" moniker, for now you'll probably find more corporate IM solutions that are stand-alone or part of collaboration suites than those that are enterprise messaging suite features.
To be seen shortly is the impact Microsoft and Yahoo! will have on AOL's AIM market lead. Both vendors have corporate IM entries based on their consumer messaging services, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, respectively. Corporate Yahoo's "business messenger" is still in development, and Microsoft is incorporating IM into Windows XP.
With AOL being legally bound to do something about AIM's interoperability, the IM arena is one to watch in 2002. Network managers should make their IM purchasing and deployment plans accordingly.
A little farther out is wireless IM. According to Evans Data Corp.'s wireless survey of 500 developers, wireless e-mail is thought to be the most prevalent application targeted by 50 percent of developers; IM is next in line. The most targeted hardware for these applications is PDAs and mobile phones, but laptops don't lag far behind.