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Radicati Forecasts Huge Growth In Enterprise Instant Messaging

300% increase expected to move corporate use from personal messages to business applications.

The Radicati Group says that instant messaging in the enterprise has finally taken off, which is no big surprise, but that it hasn't behaved in the way vendors had expected, which may or may not be a surprise, and that it will grow enormously over the next few years which is most certainly not a surprise.

The Palo Alto, CA-based research firm just issued Enterprise Instant Messaging Market, 2005-2008, a study that reached its conclusions based on interviews and surveys of IM vendors, network operators, enterprise organizations, and enterprise users .

Fueled by the free public IM networks, including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and MSN Messenger, IM use in enterprise environments has grown dramatically, and now reaches 85% of all companies in North America. The Radicati Group estimates that by the end of this year there will be 362 million IM users at companies, of which only 42 million will be using enterprise-only IM systems. The other 88% of users will be using the public systems through 768 million accounts. The large number of accounts reflects the lack of interoperability of IM systems.

The numbers contain some interesting behavioral statistics. For example, only 20% of computer users at those companies use IM today, and the primary use made of IM in the enterprise environment is for personal, not business, communications. Radicati Group researchers expect this pattern to remain in place as mobile IM technology and personal IM usage continues to grow.

And growth is a key finding of the study, with steady growth forecast for the next four years as adoption in business and consumer sectors continues to grow. The number of daily instant messages sent is expected to grow from 11.4 billion today to 45.8 billion in 2008. That growth will heighten the impact of a growing regulatory environment that will increase the need and demand for IM logging and archiving tools.

That need will be further fueled by growth in real time collaboration using IM technology that Radicati expects to see starting around 2007. Presence awareness will become integrated into desktop and applications, and users will initiate online conversations, e-mail, and group meetings only when other group members or addressees are present.

And of course spim"IM's own flavor of spam"will grow as will the tools to control it, as will virus and worm transmission. Radicati estimates that spim will brow from 1.2 billion messages this year to 17.9 billion in 2008. This growth will be fueled as more enterprise use requires including of IM identities in company directories.


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