by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
enterprise software, instant messaging

microsoft, parlano

Microsoft Bolsters Its Install-Heavy Software Strategy With Enterprise IM Buy

from the chattin-at-work dept

There is little doubt that instant messaging has become a tool in many employees' arsenal, with one estimate saying it's used in some manner by 85% of all businesses. To some extent, though, employees and their employers are still trying to figure out the best way to integrate IM in the workplace. There are several companies selling enterprise-focused IM systems, but for the most part, corporate IM use still relies on the same consumer-focused services used by teenagers and web surfers everywhere. This would seem to indicate that there's still a lot of potential in the market for IM services with features geared towards the corporate environment, whether they're enhanced security or compliance features, or different communications functions. To that end, Microsoft has announced that it's buying Parlano, which makes enterprise group chat software, and says it will integrate it into its Office Communications Server and Office Communicator. There's little doubt that there's room for a lot of features to be added for enterprise users, but the big question -- particularly for SMEs -- is whether they're worth paying for. One of the key factors in helping IM spread through the enterprise is the fact that there's a wide range of providers offering "good enough" solutions for free. Bundling the functionality in with other software, as Microsoft plans to do, is one way to try and compete with this, and reflect's Microsoft's strategic view that the emerging software as a service model in the enterprise market is bunk. Of course, the company says that because it's the complete antithesis of its own strategy, requiring huge amounts of installed software with expensive licenses. But with the growth in low-cost, or even free office software, the outlook for most paid IM solutions looks pretty cloudy. While enterprises might see the benefit in paying for software like Microsoft Office over less fully-featured free solutions, the idea that IM isn't so mission-critical (despite its widespread use) will help ensure the ongoing popularity of free IM systems.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • identicon
    Mickey Mouse, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:40pm

    IM devauates business conversation and creates le

    IM allows quick conversation, but a business environment where the focus is already inherently very reactionary, IM certainly helps to propagate an environment of execution rather than proactive planning and strategy.

    I could see how when your M$ and get subpoena for email records and the like, IM may be a better option because people chat about lunch, the kids etc etc, and the platform of IM just can't be seen as "seriously" as email, writing, et al.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ian, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:56pm

    Compliance could drive adoption

    With requirements to retain email communication, I can't see IM communication being far behind. It will only take one big scandal involving an IM based sell order etc... This type of thing could super-charge the adoption of enterprise IM retention solutions.

    I'm not sure if Parlano supports this or not but it will be interesting if this feature makes it into the Microsoft offering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:39pm

    Actually, IM's are subpoenable if you have logging turned on. (Most traditional IM applications have this function.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kannaida, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:30pm

    Based on my experience...

    I worked for a rather small software company, and we used MSN Messenger for all of our interpersonal communications (we all worked from remote locations, so we *had* to have some sort of communication medium). Frankly, I was a HUGE fan of ICQ until I started exploring the MSN functionality. And it's been a few years since then, but I think Microsoft needs to focus on incorporating their current (very popular) office suite with MSN. I'm pretty sure they still have a HUGE hold on the market space of company office software (considering the office suite of word processor, data base/reporting, business diagram [Visio] and presentation [Power Point]). My advice would be take what you've got, and and take something *else* you've got (Messenger) and form something... complete. You could enable users with a simple change to not only communicate, but communicate regarding the documents they're currently sharing anyway! But, hell... it's big business... why should *they* make the obvious move to integrate more of their already accepted works?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt Katz, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 3:49am

    I've used Parlano's product.

    MindAlign by parlano was used heavily by UBS when I worked there. UBS ran on chat.
    Key features:
    backchat - if you join a group chat, you get to see the context of the last 50 or so chats.
    archive - so you can prove that so and so agreed to such and such via chat.
    bots - IM gains lots of power when a trader can chat for information just like he chats for support. Systems announce problems and status in chat channels
    alerts - ctrl-g entered in a window makes it go bong and tell you that there's important information there. Like an exclamation point with an effect.

    Corporate IM worked really really well there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 10:47am

    Microsoft has the most complete solution for Archiving IM's, connecting with Internet users and all around security of IM communications. The new OCS product should now be viewed are compared as just IM, its so much more.

    My company ripped out Jabber and we are much happier and the addition of the Mind/Align chat will fill the one void OCS had.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    muhib, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 5:32am


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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