Blogger: Bill Pray
What is the business case for instant messaging?
For years, IM has been marketed to enterprises as:
• Enabling new agility and responsiveness in the organization through real-time communication
• Reducing latency of communication transactions
• Improving coordination
• Enabling rapid response
• Facilitating globalization
And while all of this can be true of IM in an enterprise, it can be very difficult to assign a value or a ROI to these statements. The difficulty to assign hard monetary value to IM is, I argue, one of the major reasons enterprise IM has not been implemented as ubiquitously as many have anticipated. Current enterprise IM seat count is estimated to be just a little shy of 50 million. When you compare that to consumer IM, which is approaching 150 million seats, it becomes an interesting question of: "Why is IM not being deployed more widely in the enterprise after a decade of solutions being available?"
For an IT department, implementing enterprise IM means another service to manage, monitor, and maintain. Furthermore, because it is a real-time communication tool, expectations are high and down time is immediately noticed by users. Understandably, the IT department is not always enamoured with enterprise IM.
While researching this question of enterprise IM ROI for my next document, I have found that many enterprises resort to specific use cases to help them assign value to enterprise IM. There are nearly a dozen different use cases that I have identified for enterprise IM that provide benefits.
The major vendors (Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft) include enterprise IM in unified communications platforms, making it part of a much broader business case.
I am interested in hearing your opinion and experiences. How does your enterprise answer the question of the ROI value of IM? Please add your comments or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy an IM from you also, but federation is one of the other major issues preventing the adoption of enterprise IM and prevents that option from being easily possible.