IM moved out of its hitherto acknowledged ghetto of simple text messaging and file serving and became part of unified messaging services, even being integrated in state of the art voice over IP (VoIP) products.
The apparent benefits of such versatility and adaptability are manifest but before you embark on the IM road, remember that the hacking community is increasingly targeting IM as an easy way into your organisation. Reports suggest that electronic attackers see potential in using IM as a viable vehicle for malicious threats leveraging global IM directories.
Enrique Salem, senior vice-president of security products and solutions at Symantec, says, "Real-time communication solutions like instant messaging are powerful collaboration tools that create a new attack vector for threats to enter an enterprise network and new forms of digital communication with the same government, legal, and business requirements to retain and retrieve as email."
You could do well looking at those IM products that are backed by security and/or document management solutions experts. The cost of failure to comply with regulatory and corporate governance policies may far outweigh the benefits that IM could deliver.