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Instant Messaging Best Practices

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The days of phone tag and lost emails are gone – Instant Messaging (IM) is quickly becoming the de facto way to communicate, both in our personal lives and at work. Most of us have used some type of instant messaging service to communicate with our children, friends, or colleagues, whether using AOL, Yahoo, or Microsoft Messenger. These public IM services are available at no cost and let us communicate quickly and conveniently. While great for teenagers to decide what time to meet for a movie, these public IM services don’t provide the security, privacy, and

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The days of phone tag and lost emails are gone – Instant Messaging (IM) is quickly becoming the de facto way to communicate, both in our personal lives and at work. Most of us have used some type of instant messaging service to communicate with our children, friends, or colleagues, whether using AOL, Yahoo, or Microsoft Messenger. These public IM services are available at no cost and let us communicate quickly and conveniently. While great for teenagers to decide what time to meet for a movie, these public IM services don’t provide the security, privacy, and reliability that businesses require. Over the past few years, business-grade IM systems have been introduced, offering large and small organizations the speed and convenience of IM, but with the security and reliability that businesses require.

Engaging with others quickly and easily, IM lets users conveniently get the information needed, without going through time-consuming chitchat or having to draft an email message. IM helps workers be more productive by reducing the amount of time it takes to conduct real-time interactions that have traditionally taken place over the phone, with the added benefit of being able to maintain a log or archive of the interaction.

When used appropriately, instant messaging systems can benefit both workers and businesses. However, without appropriate guidelines, the use of IM can have unintended consequences that can harm a business. Why has IM become so popular within business organizations, and what are some best practices that users and IT managers have learned? We spoke with a range of business professionals who shared their insights and experiences about using and benefitting from IM.

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