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March 02, 2009


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Peter Quirk

Great introduction Mike.

I would argue that Enterprise IM is lot more subtle these days. I have experience with Microsoft Communicator, but I'm sure similar concepts apply to the IBM Lotus Suite. When Communicator is added to the Exchange email environment, the presence status of email senders and recipients is indicated in the Outlook envelope. You may choose to reply via IM rather than by email.

Moreover, enterprise IM combines text chat, voice chat, PBX integration and video conferencing in one UI, much like Skype. So you may respond to an email with a video chat or a computer-initiated VoIP call to the sender's mobile phone. (PBX integration is a separate offering, but presented in a unified way through the IM framework.)

Enterprise IM like Communicator also integrates with web conferencing and desktop sharing provided by Microsoft Live Meeting. Thus you might respond to an email by inviting a sender to view a shared desktop or shared application like a spreadsheet.

The end result is a collaboration framework that switches from your channel-based model to a space-based model fairly fluidly. And all of this is taking space within a security domain controlled by IT, with support for compliance and e-discovery.

Microsoft also binds the IM presence status to names of authors in the SharePoint CMS. Here we see another example of a collaboration space that affords real-time channel-oriented communication if you want to use it.

-- Peter


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