New Software Helps IM Mean Business

It must gauge needs before investing.

Instant messaging implementation in the corporate arena is accelerating, according to a recent study by The Radicati Group Inc., a consulting and market research company in Palo Alto, Calif.

Some 70 percent of corporations interviewed are using some form of IM now, but only 26 percent have standardized on a single corporate IM solution, according to the study. The ratio of consumer to corporate IM accounts is almost 9-to-1 today, but by 2007, that ratio will be closer to 3-to-1, the Radicati study predicted.

Many software companies are working to make enterprise IM more secure, robust, scalable, and easier to manage and archive. These enterpriseworthy IM systems will require some upfront costs, from additional software and server hardware to storage and archiving capacity. IT managers must carefully consider workers needs as well as necessary system modifications before adopting an IM system.

Leading IM vendors such as FaceTime Communications Inc. and IMlogic Inc. are rolling out systems that will make it easier for businesses to put IM on their networks and provide a means to secure and manage it.

FaceTime has announced integration of its IM Auditor Enterprise with Legato Systems Inc.s EmailXtender, a centralized e-mail storage and management system. The partnership will produce a complete messaging management solution, officials at both companies said.

IMlogic is putting content filtering, spam protection and anti-virus scanning capabilities into its latest version of IM Manager. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Network Associates Inc. to integrate McAfee security features.

IM Manager will leverage McAfees anti-virus engine to remove infected files and protect the network from malicious Internet code. Integration with a virus-scanning engine will allow companies to proactively protect their e-mail and IM systems.

Microsoft Corp. recently announced the upcoming RTC (Real-Time Communications) Server will be part of the Office 2003 system, due this fall. Microsofts RTC Server will provide enterprises with a more manageable and secure IM platform than do public IM services, company officials said.

Integration with Office 2003 makes sense because it will allow companies to integrate information from IM across Microsofts suite of business productivity applications.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at