IM making inroads into enterprises

Seizing upon the inefficiencies of email created by spam and the need for real-time communication, Instant messaging is becoming a workplace tool.

Instant messaging is increasingly becoming a workplace tool--seizing upon the inefficiencies of email created by spam and the need for real-time communication.

But a third of staff in the UK still aren't using it on their desktop, while as many are using purely to chat with friends and family as use it purely for business, according to the findings of a poll.

In total 17.8 percent of respondents said the only names on their IM 'buddy list' are friends and family. By pure coincidence that figure was exactly the same as the number of people whose contacts are all colleagues--suggesting opinions could not be more divided in the work tool/office distraction debate. Also divided on the issue were the 12.2 percent of respondents who said their list was half 'business' and half 'pleasure'.

Some companies are clearly decided where they stand, however; nearly one-third (30.1 percent) of respondents said they do not use IM at work.

That result in particular is very much in line with the industry's own take on the health of its market.

Kailash Ambwani, CEO of FaceTime, said: "With IM we are seeing trends where the market is divided up into distinct thirds. One-third have an explicit policy on the rollout and use of enterprise IM, one-third are aware that it is being used and one-third have said categorically 'no' and many of those have closed off the communication ports."

However, Ambwani said many of those in the latter third may actually be the most willing--if a little over-cautious--potential adopters of IM, adding that they may have simply but a block on its use until they are convinced a proposed application and system will meet all compliance and business needs with little risk attached.

Reported by Will Sturgeon of