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Small Business Takes On IM

Instant messaging is gaining favor as a business tool.

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This story appears in the December 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Is e-mail the new snail mail? Some tech-savvy entrepreneurs think so. IM is growing up as an effective business tool. A variety of business-strength IM tools have reached the market, including AIM Pro from AOL and open source solutions like Wildfire from Jive Software. "We see IM adoption in younger, more technically savvy companies. People have realized it is a legitimate business tool," says Matt Tucker, CTO and co-founder of Jive.

There are benefits to moving from a consumer-oriented public IM service like Yahoo! Messenger or MSN Messenger to an industrial-strength version. "You get the ability to control [it] and have security around it, better features and a better experience," says Tucker. It's also a great way to make remote workers feel more connected to the main office. It's no surprise, then, that this technology is working its way into more creative business applications.

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