Let's talk about the other two major public IM providers -- AOL and Yahoo. Do you see them moving towards working with companies like you, and would you like to see that happen?
Both. I think the success of any platform depends on the momentum of the ISVs (Internet-service vendors) around it. I think if you look at any communications medium, people are saying, "Well, for any communications medium to take off, there's a lot of enterprise infrastructure that's required," like a compliance application. And I think the network providers want lots of people to help support their platform.
Certainly in the financial-services world, customers are saying, "I'm looking at IM usage, and I finally recognize it is happening in a big way in my company. Do these IM clients and IM networks have the necessary supporting infrastructure to keep them on my desktop? Can I manage them? Can I archive them? Are they secure?" To the extent that a network can point to partners and say, "Well, for that application, here's a partner that does it, so you should keep us on the desktop."
Are you seeing movement from them yet (AOL and Yahoo)?
We are. Obviously from our perspective, sooner is better. That's about all I can say.
When it comes to working with public IM networks within the enterprise, what should companies be thinking about?
Rather than taking a defensive posture to instant messaging, I think companies want to support (IM) usage. There's four things that they need to do to be able to support IM usage within their companies. The first thing they need to get is visibility of instant-messaging usage in their company. They need to be able to see who is using what kind of IM client, what are the screen names of people and how that maps to their directories. The second thing they need is reporting, and to be able to generate traffic usage stats by department, employee, average message size, time of day traffic, and that kind of thing.
The third thing is, if necessary, compliance-level archiving -- to be able to say for select groups of people, depending on the industry you're in, you'll have some compliance requirements and need archiving. Fourth is security. If you don't have it, you could have people sending viruses into the company and confidential documents and data could be going out.
Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet.
|Deploying Enterprise Instant Messaging
IMlogic Founder and CEO Frances deSouza, who ran Microsoft's Real-time Collaboration Group and was responsible for Exchange Instant Messaging and other products, will be speaking on "Deploying Enterprise Instant Messaging" at the InstantMessagingPlanet Fall 2002 Conference and Expo. Click here for more details.