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To Be or Not to Be an IM Shop?

Financial-services firms are divided when it comes to allowing instant messaging. Many warn they don't have a choice.

IM growth on the upswing

That's because IM is exploding and it's one of the fastest growing means of electronic communication in the corporate world. According to Celent Communications of Boston, the number of IM users will grow from around two million in 2003 to more than 3.5 million by 2006. The number of messages sent in a day will skyrocket from last year's two billion to almost 10 billion by 2006.

While only about 30 percent of firms have sanctioned the use of IM solutions, 80 percent of financial-services employees say they use IM. "All the major Wall Street firms are using IM in some part of their organization," Haney says, noting that traders were the early adopters and many firms are in the process of catching up. "I think we're passed the point of whether or not people think it's useful."

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