Instant Messaging Joining Mainstream Communication Tools
While many technologies come and go and only a few ever make it to the big time, instant messaging is on the verge of becoming a mainstream, standard application among corporations. The only things holding it back seem to be an increasing concern among businesses over the justification of corporate instant messaging, its value in cost savings, and whether it leads to increased productivity.
According to market research firm The Radicati Group, Inc., corporate instant messaging accounts will exceed 52 million in 2003 and grow to 290 million by 2007. The study projects that the worldwide corporate instant messaging market will grow at an explosive rate led by the North American region and will reach $344 million by 2007.
But even with the growth, it's difficult to say who will get the increasing instant messaging business. The Radicati study shows that while 70 percent of companies use some form of instant messaging, only 26 percent of organizations have standardized on a common corporate instant messaging solution. It's common for companies to use more than one instant messaging product - the average is 1.77 products, according to Radicati Group. The study also revealed that security is the top instant messaging concern, followed by skepticism of added value.
But even with all the market confusion over instant messaging programs, Lotus Instant Messaging (formerly Sametime) has emerged as the clear leader where companies have standardized on a platform. Lotus leads the corporate instant messaging market with 47 percent of the install base and 35 percent of the revenue.
Still, Radicati expects the corporate instant messaging market will spur the emergence of instant messaging management and enterprise development tools vendors looking to take advantage of the growing market. "IM is quickly becoming a mainstream corporate application that enables realtime collaboration," said Andrew Wolff, vice president of product marketing for DYS Analytics. "Users are demanding that IM be high performing, always available, and ubiquitous in their network. In order to meet these demands, IT requires management products that enable them to measure, manage, and optimize IM just like their other corporate applications."
— Rita-Lyn Sanders, e-Pro Magazine News Editor