Instant messaging is our chief means of communicating with each other at IT Business Edge -- far surpassing e-mail and the phone and running just about even with face-to-face conversations. One of the biggest gaffes here is not being on IM during the work day -- unless you are in a meeting or otherwise must keep distractions to a minimum.
Indeed, some of us -- like IT Business Edge blogger Ken-Hardin -- like it a little too much and have found it necessary to institute practices such as self-imposed periods of IM-free activity to boost our productivity.
We use free Trillian software for IM. While it (mostly) serves our needs, it'd be nice to have some of the features it lacks -- group chat, integration with Outlook and chat history, for example. I suspect there are plenty of SMBs, like us, that use a no-frills consumer IM program but yearn a bit for more business-oriented features.
That's the reason AOL introduced a professional version of its popular AIM instant messaging software last summer, and it's why IBM is rolling out an entry-level version of its Sametime communications platform called Sametime 8 Entry.
According to Network World, the product supports multiperson chat, awareness, spell check, a rich text editor, contact list management and chat history. It includes presence features and the same IM features in the current version of Lotus Notes/Domino.
It's part of a broader refresh of the Sametime platform that is designed to offer more choices for companies of varying sizes and degrees of interest in real-time communications.