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UK firms slow to take up Instant Messaging reveals Telewest Business

Study underscores need for business-grade IM to deliver fast, effective and productive communications

Just a third of British companies are giving staff access to Instant Messaging (IM), compared to 84 per cent who have a company intranet, according to a study conducted for Telewest Business by Manchester Business School. While more than half of the companies with IM felt that it did benefit the organisation (58 per cent), only 3 per cent of these said that it was used as a formal communications tool. This highlights the need for business-grade IM to deliver additional security and management features for company-wide communication.

Those companies that do have IM said that they use it constantly, due to the instant access, speed and ease of use, the main benefits highlighted by 71 per cent of users. Presence-based solutions will enhance communication, including IM, phone and email, enabling users to see who is online, with their status and availability, wherever they are in the world. For businesses, presence will deliver the speed and ease of use that these communication technologies offer, with additional efficiency and impact.

“The strange thing is that while many people use consumer IM products at home to make personal communication easier, IM is not yet being fully exploited for business purposes,” said Julien St.John-Dennis, Director of Voice at Telewest Business. “The telephone is familiar and ubiquitous, but often it isn’t the most effective way to collaborate across multiple sites. IM can be rolled out on an enterprise-wide scale taking up minimal bandwidth, and requires little internal training to make it an effective tool.”

“Organisations should look to have a good mix of technology available, to avoid having all their staff pinned to email, or glued to the phone,” said Prof Margaret Bruce, director of corporate business research at Manchester Business School. “Flexibility is key, as well as the ability to match the right communications channel to the business objective or operational activity.”

“IP networks are making IM and other presence-based communication tools practical and very affordable. Multimedia over IP (MoIP) technology from Telewest Business will change the landscape of productive communications by making IM available for business use as secure, managed and tailored service,” continued St.John-Dennis.

The in-depth research was carried out amongst UK businesses in both the public and private with between 50 and 1000+ employees during January and February, 2005. It attempted to find how productive the current communications tools in use in the workplace were considered to be, and what new technologies were being introduced or contemplated in order to boost productivity. For further information please go to

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About Telewest Broadband:
Telewest Broadband, the broadband communications and media group, currently passes 4.9 million homes and provides multi-channel television, telephone and internet services to 1.74 million UK households, and voice and data telecommunications services to around 67, 000 business customers. Its content division, Flextech, is the BBC's partner in UKTV. Together they are the largest supplier of basic channels to the UK pay-TV market with a portfolio that combines wholly owned and managed channels, including the fourteen joint venture channels with the BBC. For further information go to

In May 2004, Telewest Business was awarded the Communications Management Association (CMA) Chairman's Award for exceptional Customer Satisfaction ratings in the Wireline Services and Internet/Online Services sections of the CMA's “Communications Market UK 2003” report. More information can be found at

Telewest Business press contacts:
Rebecca Tyrer, Press Office
T: 01483 584227

Paul Allen, Rainier PR
T: 020 7474 6570

Manchester Business School:
Manchester Business School is the UK’s largest campus-based business and management school. It provides a comprehensive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and custom-made executive programmes, for organizations from both the private and public sectors.

Manchester Business School press contact:
Kate Jeffery
T: 0161 275 7090

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Speed Communications in the following categories: Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit