Instant Messaging (IM) has long been a standard in personal communication, changing the way that people communicate on a daily basis since its extraordinary growth beginning in the 90s. IM is nothing new, with an over 55 year history since its initial creation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. More recently, however, IM has taken a more prominent role in the business world. With more and more companies recognizing the unique qualities of IM for their team communication, the field of Business IM is growing, and with good reason. IM brings with it a wide range of benefits to businesses and organizations, from higher levels of efficiency and productivity, to cost savings and security. This is generally accomplished by facilitating faster communication between team members, particularly when compared to standard email communication. In these benefits lie many of the reasons that IM is continuing its growth in the private sector. Below are some of the main benefits that IM brings to businesses, although this is certainly not a comprehensive list. The field of IM continues to develop and innovate to this day, so further future benefits are sure to come.
Perhaps the biggest benefit that IM brings lies in the first word of the term, ‘Instant.’ In the fast-paced modern workplace communication needs to keep up with the pace of business. Email communication, for example, relies on a somewhat delayed system of sending and receiving information. With IM, team members are able to reach out for immediate consultations, eliminating the long delays in waiting for an email response.
Business IM programs such as Brosix provide a direct link between users, allowing them to communicate more frequently and efficiently, and building rapport in the process. No longer do colleagues need to go through the time-consuming process of composing an email in order to reach out to a colleague for a quick consultation. This helps to increase the speed and efficiency of many work processes, making team members more productive.
Another way that IM provides for quicker and more efficient communication is by reducing the need for detailed composition. Messages sent via IM are expected to be quick and to the point, avoiding the extra time invested in formatting emails. This more intimate style of communication, which allows users to ignore some of the strictures of proper English for the sake of efficiency, can be liberating for users. The freer that users feel to communicate the more likely they are to reach out and collaborate, and increased collaboration is a key to higher levels of productivity.
In the past, communications was one of the major overhead expenses that companies faced in the form of phone bills, postage, etc. Businesses which switch to IM can often times eliminate many of the costs associated with this type of communication. Many IM programs allow for direct calls through softphone dialers, for example, at a fraction of the cost of a phone landline. Some IM programs also allow businesses to streamline all of their communication channels in one program, eliminating the need for extra software.
The IM industry has developed a number of different communication channels, from text, audio and visual chat, to chat rooms and shared virtual collaboration space. By streamlining these different channels in one comprehensive tool, IM can ease employee communication. This in turn can lead to an increase employee productivity, as team members collaborate more frequently and efficiently.
Businesses have long had to contend with cybersecurity concerns since the advent of the internet-based work environment. As more of businesses’ day to day operations and information moves to the cloud, cybersecurity concerns are rising, with 89% of businesses reporting that their cybersecurity concerns are not currently being met. IM programs that focus specifically on secure communication can help address these security concerns by providing a comprehensive approach to secure communication through data encryption. Secure IM programs thus serve a crucial role in providing businesses with secure internal communication, one of the key elements of any cybersecurity strategy.
IM is a wide definition which includes both personal and business. While both bring a wide range of benefits, business IM is specifically geared towards helping businesses to increase their collaboration and teamwork. This is done through a number of business IM features, from team and video chat, to chat rooms and screensharing. Businesses which make IM a central part of their internal communication can expect to experience the above mentioned benefits, and much more as even more innovative features are developed.