A corporate instant messenger can save a company millions of dollars in security costs and increased productivity, but many firms miss out on some of the biggest gains when the choose a corporate instant messenger that does not have core features. Anybody can create an IM client that can allow employees to chat in safety, but what other features should you be looking for?
Here's a list of top features that every corporate instant messenger should have, why they should be included, and why you can't afford to pass on these features:
1. Screen sharing
Screen sharing provides the ultimate in troubleshooting. Companies with 50+ employees almost always have to pay for support staff to keep basic functions like email and office productivity software up and running.
Why not leverage your support staff by keeping them off the phone and letting them use screen sharing tools for troubleshooting? Most support staff will tell you that 90% of the time wasted is getting the person on the other end to communicate clearly. Skip this step and launch screen sharing right out of your corporate instant messenger.
2. Screen shots
The next best support system is screen shots. Employees can quickly send a picture of the error message or point of confusion without having to type and send.
The screen shot tool can also allow your employees to send an image and move on. This lets your support staff handle the more pressing issues and deal with the offending problem later.
3. Video and Voice Conference
Video and voice conferencing can take your teams to a whole new level of communication. Avoid costly real estate of multiple conference rooms as well. Just have employees schedule voice and video conferencing, then launch the tool right out of the corporate instant messenger.
Chats can continue as a presentation goes on, allowing employees to share ideas without distracting the group. Additionally, you save money by avoiding expensive video conference hosting services when your IM client supports the feature.
4. Chat rooms
Teams can use chat rooms to quickly come together and share ideas. Don't underestimate the power of a chat room for brainstorming. When the meeting is over, you have a nice set of minutes you can copy and paste as well. Also, chat rooms are an easy way for a team to form an impromptu meeting when needed.
5. Admin control panel
Finally, you need a control panel. This is where conversations can be documented, employees can be limited to groups, and general stats can be stored. At the end of the day you need control, and what kind of control do you really have if you don't have an admin panel?
Don't get stuck with a corporate instant messenger that doesn't give you everything you need to succeed. With this core set of features - chat included - you have powerful tools at your disposal. Leverage your staff by giving the resources they need.
As a final note, be sure your IM client has the appropriate security. Encryption of files and virus scanning are the two biggest examples. These features operate invisibly in the background, but are still vital.
14 June 2009 software tips