IM to integrate with enterprise apps

The ability to communicate in real-time using instant messaging (IM) is increasing workers’ productivity and that in turn is driving IM adoption in the enterprise, according to a new study by the independent market research firm, Radicati Group Inc.

Although corporate IM accounts are expected to reach 60 million in 2003, IM still hasn’t reached its full potential in terms of usage or functionality in the enterprise space, says Genelle Hung, market analyst at the Radicati Group Inc. Corporate IM accounts are expected to increase to 349 million in 2007.

Over the next 12 to 18 months users can expect to see the integration of IM with other enterprise applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), officials from several IM vendors said during a recent panel discussion moderated by Radicati.

America Online Inc. (AOL), Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Bantu Inc., Comverse Inc., and WiredRed Software all participated in the call.

“Through the management server we’re going to let people tap into the (IM) service at an application program interface (API) level and leverage presence, leverage messaging, and do all that stuff that leverages encryption,” said Brian Curry, senior director of strategy development, strategic business solutions team at AOL.

He explained this would be for users to plug (IM) in for the “purposes of file transfer and for messaging value-add as well as for the creation of automated agents and adding front-ends to (users’) back office applications.”

Users can also expect to see enhancements to security features, and identity management.

Radicati’s report shows that North America leads the way with corporate IM implementation. Sixty-seven percent of the companies currently using enterprise IM worldwide are in North America.

This is because most IM vendors tend to be based in North America and are targeting domestic markets before foreign markets. However, North America’s percentage of the worldwide IM implementations will drop to 50 percent by 2007 as Europe’s usage rises.