Retailers such as L.L. Bean use custom forms of IM for "instant access to a customer service rep"; corporate employees, use AOL's IM (AIM) for access to colleagues, suppliers and customers during business hours (with or without the knowledge of IT); other companies have deployed robust IM products, like Jabber, company-wide for in-house collaboration.
Whatever the case, corporate IM is rapidly becoming a part of today's business. So much so that industry analysts predict that 70% of enterprises will be using IM by 2003. It's estimated that 180 million business users already do.
If you haven't gotten on the IM bandwagon just yet, know that more than a few people use the terms Corporate Messaging, Internet Messaging and Corporate Instant Messaging interchangeably. Network managers beware, it's not just business users, we've even heard vendor representatives use these terms synonymously. Though clearly IM belongs under the "enterprise messaging" moniker, for now you'll probably find more corporate IM solutions as standalones or part of collaboration suites more than enterprise messaging suite features.
Don't be fooled, however, by the small number of products in this buyer's guide. That great little app that entered the world the only child of AOL, has scores of rivals for the hearts of millions of IM users. IM and IM technology is everywhere and of course Microsoft is getting into the act.
Due shortly, is the impact Microsoft and Yahoo will have on AOL's AIM market lead. Both have corporate IM entries, based on their consumer messaging services MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. Corporate Yahoo's "business messenger" is still in development and Microsoft is incorporating IM into Windows XP. Add AOL being legally bound to do something about AIMs interoperability and the IM arena should provide most of our entertainment in 2002. Network managers should make their IM purchasing and deployment plans accordingly.
A little farther out is wireless IM, if developers are any indication. According to Evans Data Corp. wireless survey of 500 developers, thought wireless e-mail is the most prevalent application targeted by 50% of developers, instant messaging was next in line. The most targeted hardware for these applications was PDAs and mobile phones but laptops weren't far behind.
This article was first published on CrossNodes, an internet.com site.