Bill Pray

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Bill Pray
Research Director
2 years at Gartner
16 years IT industry

Bill Pray is an analyst in the Collaboration and Content Strategies ITP team. He covers communications and collaboration solutions — e-mail, calendars, instant messaging, and web conferencing…Read Full Bio

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by Bill Pray  |  September 14, 2011  |  Comments Off

If you ask an IT professional to define presence, you may get something along the lines of:

What Is Presence?

The term “presence” is frequently associated with instant messaging (IM). The basic definition for presence is information that conveys the ability and interest of a user to communicate with another user (or users). For many people, the predominantly manual status settings included in popular consumer IM clients (e.g., Google Talk, Windows Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger) are their first experience with presence.

Gartner ITP research document: Enterprise Presence: Luxury or Necessity? (Requires subscription)

However, if you ask the average information worker, you might be greeted with a blank look. What is really interesting is to ask them to find a co-worker’s availability or ask them how they would find out if they could contact a co-worker at this moment. Do they check an IM client to see a red or green button? Do they grab a mobile phone and call them? Do they SMS instead of call? Do they check their email client? Do they go to a social software web page and look at an activity stream?

Do these options (and many others) change the basic definition of presence? How does an enterprise glean value out of presence if the definition is changing? Does the introduction of contextual presence from social streams – e.g. a Facebook entry that says I am in my office today, working on a huge project, but I am looking forward to lunch with my family and will be taking the afternoon off to take them to a ballgame – change the landscape for presence?

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