IM tools tailored for enterprises

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Instant messaging (IM) provider Process One is set to launch two packages designed to enable greater collaboration among employees and offer firms new ways of engaging with their customers.

IMcollaborate is based on open-source technology and is able to integrate with public IM clients, such as AIM and Yahoo Messenger. The product allows firms to open their internal IM networks to support communication with trusted third parties or partners using public IM services, according to Mickaël Rémond, chief executive at Process One.

An admin console and dashboard gives IT managers full visibility over user behaviour and any security or performance issues that may arise. Also featured are multi-user chat capabilities for online meetings and message archiving.

“We have focused a lot on productivity because managers are often afraid that IM is a time-waster,” said Rémond. “So you can create a profile in which only certain users can contact you, and if others try, their message will be delayed ­ you can control how much you want to be interrupted.”

Mike Davis of analyst Ovum said that enterprise IM is slowly gaining more traction among firms, thanks to the efforts of IBM Lotus, among others. He added that a controlled system can help mitigate the risk of data loss, and aid compliance and e-discovery.

“One of the major reasons for supporting IM and ensuring it is part of a managed, secure system is to enable good knowledge management. Some of the most valuable information in an organisation is exchanged via IM,” said Davis.

Today’s other release is tailored for companies that want to offer their web site visitors the ability to collaborate in online communities, or give their helpdesk or customer service staff the ability to reach out to customers. IMconnect is based on the same robust ejabberd platform as IMcollaborate, and offers a multi-user chat system, admin console and gateways to public IM clients.

Rémond explained that the service could be used by an e-commerce site to enable customers to put queries about potential purchases to a member of the sales team, or to offer members of online dating sites the ability to communicate in real time with each other. @ 2010 Incisive Media

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