Ten years later, why are we still arguing about the value of enterprise instant messaging?

I’ve been following some of the coverage of Lotusphere through other bloggers, like Luis, Mike Gotta, Ed Brill and Ross Mayfield. I won’t repeat the product announcements (it would be third-hand anyway), however one thing I did notice is the comment that Lotus Sametime is ten years old. In fact according to the current entry in Wikipedia on instant messaging, Sametime was the first corporate instant messaging system (as we known instant messaging), although it was quickly followed by Microsoft.

Clearly ten years ago these companies saw the market potential for enterprise instant messaging (EIM), yet today (according to figures quoted from Gartner) there is still only a 25 percent to 30 percent penetration of enterprise instant messaging. And I don’t think the products are a fault here.

Now this is a rhetorical question, but I have say: Why are we still arguing about the value of enterprise instant messaging after more than a decade? I dug out a few of my own posts on this from 2005:

Unfortunately pretty much these same arguments are still bouncing around organisations I’ve come across more recently that haven’t yet embraced instant messaging. Perhaps instant messaging will sneak in the back door through unified communications?

Of course, what also worries me, will we still be arguing about the value of more recent Enterprise Web 2.0 tools in ten years time?

PS Happy Australia Day everyone! 🙂