IDC: Corporate Instant Messaging Will Grow at a Strong Rate but Faces Obstacles

FRAMINGHAM, MA — OCTOBER 24, 2000 — The corporate instant messaging (IM) market will experience high growth in user adoption and message traffic. According to IDC, the number of worldwide instant messaging corporate users will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 140%, from 5.5 million in 2000 to more than 180 million in 2004. For worldwide corporate and consumer segments, the number of total messages sent will approach 2 trillion per year by 2004.


"Several technological and business-rule factors are driving corporate instant messaging deployments and are creating opportunities for corporate IM software and service vendors," said Robert Mahowald, research analyst for IDC's Collaborative Computing program. "However, instant messaging on a corporate level faces obstacles as vendors try to change the minds of knowledge workers and IT managers who see the technology only as a chat application."

IDC says the major growth barriers facing corporate IM are fickle end users, staid IT departments, and disruptive technologies such as research in motion Blackberry devices and unified messaging.

"As a collaborative medium, email is the dominant paradigm," Mahowald said. "Looking solely at user migration from email to instant messaging may be missing the point; for instant messaging to succeed as a business collaboration tool, it will need to find a place to comfortably augment email, not replace it."

Despite the barriers, IDC says several accelerators will pave the way for corporate instant messaging to succeed. Integrated collaborative environment vendors are already embedding IM functions, presence awareness, and availability controls into their product lines. In addition, availability controls are being built into the IM interface, allowing end users to find the most efficient way to incorporate the application into their workday.

"We are entering a stage in the evolution of IM where emerging technology causes marketplace turmoil," Mahowald said. "Success will come to instant messaging vendors that are agile enough to adapt to the very rapid development of instant messaging."

Information like the above can be found in IDC's report Finding a Place: Corporate Instant Messaging Market Forecast and Analysis, 2000?2004 (IDC #B23039). This report provides the key statistics for the corporate instant messaging market that solutions vendors, service providers, and users need to understand how fast and in what ways instant messaging usage is growing. Comparative insight and data about the consumer and corporate instant messaging markets are provided. This report forecasts corporate and consumer IM users by adoption rate and region. Anecdotal end-user patterns are also provided.

To purchase the report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4389, or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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