I’ve noticed that some clients I deal with are sold on the idea of utilizing instant messaging services and some are completely against the idea. I find it sort of interesting because there are some interesting advantages to using this type of tool.
First of all, I’m not talking about using AIM or GTalk inside your organization. Obviously this may not be a great option unless your resources are distributed. I am talking about using Microsoft’s Office Communicator product, Lotus Notes messenger product, or something similar. Basically an in-house messaging product.
One client utilized the tool quite often. It was even utilized by business users at times. It made a lot of sense because the users were distributed across 6 floors of the building. Of course, the IT department utilized most heavily but many other departments also utilized it. There was even consideration of tying into the tool in order to send broadcast messages and even system generated messages about queues, etc.
Another client that I dealt with was completely opposed to using a tool like this. They thought it would cause people to just sit and chat all day long. Not exactly sure how the chat program would cause that anymore than the phone, coffee machine, or water cooler did.
While working with a client who utilized remote resources, we utilized AIM as a solution for communication. Most communication between resources occurred via instant messaging. This proved to be a very effective communication mechanism. It even provided the ability to go back and look at what you had discussed in the past with someone.
Another client that I am working with is broken apart in a few multi-level buildings and they utilize the IM solution for their IT department. I would assume that business users could also use it if they were interested. In this environment, utilizing IM saves huge amounts of time. You don’t have to wait for email responses and usually can connect pretty simply with the people that you need to communicate with. Also, with the technology setup you can easily communicate with resources who are working remotely.
Instant messaging is a fantastic tool and should be utilized by many businesses to allow for greater communication between their resources. It fits a need that isn’t completely served by email or phone communication. It is something you would want to spend some time thinking through the best solution for you and your business.
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