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Enterprise Instant Messaging: Going, Going, Gone?

by Bill Pray  |  April 25, 2012  |  Comments Off on Enterprise Instant Messaging: Going, Going, Gone?

Successful implementation of enterprise IM has hinged on the use case. If use cases are found that the users adopt and value, then EIM becomes important.

Understanding use cases, business benefits, and technical architecture leads to optimized implementation. EIM implementation can be complex and cause the IT department to wonder if the benefit is worth the effort. However, EIM can make an organization more agile and responsive by offering capabilities such as chat, back-channel communication, low-key interruption, presence, and a rich address book.

However, is enterprise social messaging EIM’s better replacement?

Does the social messaging activity stream mean the doom of enterprise instant messaging?

To start answering the questions, it is helpful to identify the differences between enterprise EIM and social messaging:

  • EIM – Usually 1:1 text-based, synchronous (real-time) messages
  • Social messaging – Usually 1:Many text-based, synchronous messages

However, generally, both can do 1:1 or 1:Many.

  • EIM – Enterprise presence (e.g. online, offline, available, busy, etc. The colored indicators of red, green and yellow)
  • Social messaging – Contextual presence (Where someone is, what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they feel about it)


  • EIM – Mature
  • Social messaging – Nascent


  • EIM – Some federation ability to connect to consumer and competing enterprise solutions; some standards available for federation (e.g XMPP)
  • Social messaging – No generally accepted standards, yet


  • EIM – Integrations available with many other enterprise solutions including telephony and web conferencing; a key technology in a unified communications solution
  • Social Messaging – Beneficial integrations still a work-in-progress

Are these differences substantive enough to declare that IM is on its way out?

The technologist in me says “no” in that each solution has advantages. However, looking at the consumer landscape as a bellwether, it certainly seems that IM is on its way out – or rather, on its way in as an integrated component to social messaging (e.g. Facebook Chat).

Category: instant-messaging  

Tags: activity-stream  bill-pray  communication  instant-messaging  social-software  

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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