More Asian firms IM to communicate

Instant messaging emerging as popular collaboration and communication tool among enterprises in Asia-Pacific region, Springboard research finds.

After e-mail, instant messaging (IM) is the second-most popular and widely used collaboration and communication tool among enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new study Monday.

Released by Springboard Research, the report revealed that nearly two-thirds of organizations that use IM ranked the application as their top collaboration tool in terms of usage. The research firm interviewed 469 CIOs, IT and business managers in over 400 large, as well as small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Balaka Baruah Aggarwal, Springboard's senior research manager of emerging software, said in the report that IM complements or even replaces relatively more expensive phone calls as a means of long-distance intra- and inter-organization communication.

The study also found that enterprise IM applications were gaining attention from businesses, although a majority of companies in the region still used consumer IM tools.

"Consumer IM tools are a key catalyst for organizations that go on to deploy more integrated and advanced communication and collaboration platforms," Aggarwal said.

Increased focus in recent months by IT vendors on enterprise IM was another key driver for the enterprise messaging market, the study found.

"IM is an effective entry point for vendors to sell their integrated communications and collaboration platforms to organizations," Aggarwal said. "User organizations are driving further growth of enterprise IM applications, as they push for more security and more comprehensive and integrated communications and collaboration platforms."

With the exception of China, multinational vendors such as Microsoft, Yahoo and IBM dominate the IM landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. In China, local vendors such as Tencent and mobile instant messaging provider PICA, have a significant presence.