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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.

Rolling Out IM

When it comes to adopting IM, Haney says firms have to pick an approach. He says there are three paths for adopting IM services. The first is turning to a vendor that seeks to leverage existing services. In this category he includes vendors like IMLogic and FaceTime, which provide the "tools and technology but don't get involved in the network." This category also includes firms such as Akonix and the public messenger systems. These types of vendors are building solutions and often working with the public systems, such as AOL and MSN, to help integrate different platforms into their operations. They can help firms discover rogue IM systems in their operations and centralize the management and enforcement of policies around securing and archiving IMs.

The second is what he calls the enterprise approach. Here an institution deploys its own Intranet IM solution using technology from firms like IBM, WiredRed, Jabber and OmniPod, among others. They provide a behind-the-firewall environment for controlling and managing IMs. The services are integrated into existing IT and network architectures and provide assurance such as guaranteed message delivery.

The third is what he calls gated communities, like IM services from Reuters, Thomson and Bloomberg. These systems are managed externally by the service provider and provide interconnectivity among users on the network.

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