IM's Missing Link Could Ease The Workflow

from the does-this-all-make-sense? dept

Among the various technologies I’m skeptical about, you can put corporate instant messaging and unified messaging near the top of the list. However, if the technologies are actually integrated well, there are some interesting possibilities. I’ve always said that corporate instant messaging doesn’t benefit the end user at all (it just makes it worse). The only people it might benefit (and even that’s questionable) is corporate IT staffs. However, this latest completely integrated offering gives some ideas of the more advanced features that might make companies find value in moving to a corporate IM solution. By integrating the IM with email and the phone, it has the potential to be a real productivity tool – if people actually use it. I’m on the fence, though, as to whether or not people will actually use it. It adds a layer of complexity to how you communicate, and it also will be seen by many as a way to for execs to spy on you during your workday. Plus, at $400/seat, it’s on the insanely pricey side. If these features are really useful, others will develop them in the various free instant messaging offerings out there.

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Comments on “IM's Missing Link Could Ease The Workflow”

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Glenn says:

No Subject Given

I don’t know if I agree with you on this one, Mike. At least at my conglomerate, I think IM could be a useful tool. Currently, we use (1) an old phone system with non-caller-ID phones and (2) groupwise email, which is notoriously slow. It takes 10 seconds or thereabouts to lookup the phone number of one of our 10,000 management employees.

So if I need someone, I can either walk over to their cube, which is slow and not always fruitfull, or call them – which is always slow and can on occasion crash my computer.

If I had IM, and could have the people who I work closely with on some quick-reference directory, I think it would save me some time and increase both productivity and our daily interaction.

But if you tied IM into Groupwise, well it’s just an extension of our current issues.

Glenn says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

No, while intrigued, I have not. But given that it takes several forms and days just to get the currently available applications installed on one of our user’s workstations, I’m a bit daunted when faced with the installation of a new piece of software. I think my 5 year old computer is a bit intimidated too. (It might 3 years old, but whichever… too old)

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Ah, you miss my point. I have nothing against IM in the corporation. I think that’s very useful. It’s the separate corporate IM applications that I have a problem with.

Using IM in a corporate setting is very useful… but is it worth spending $400/seat, when you can just get everone to download Yahoo instant messenger?

Anonymous Coward says:

the problem with IM

is that it’s a conversation.
You might IM someone to get some information and go back to work, but you might also get the information, and then someone will say “hey, how was that thing you did this weekend?” which will waste a lot of time.
And worst of all– you have to take measures to save and organize your conversations.
Email is superior to IM in every work related way– except goofing off.
I’m not above goofing off, but I prefer email for work.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: the problem with IM

While I agree that there is a risk with IM of it extending into a “conversation”, there are also other benefits that extend beyond email. Mostly these are around the idea of presence, letting people know if someone else is around and available. Instead of having to check in and see, it’s easier to just check your IM status.

Also, email can be unweildy for certain bits of information that require a back-and-forth. I much prefer to use IM for those types of issues.

Lee (user link) says:

Re: Re: the problem with IM

I think something that is overlooked about IM in business, is the interpersonal relationship value. I think it can be more valuable than email in helping people get to know one another across geography- more personality shows through.

Of course, that may mean goofing off more- but it may also mean more loyalty to a company. Studies have shown that relationships with co-workers are high on the list of reasons to stay.

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