A decade ago, the use of email for business correspondence was unheard of . Companies were still using fax machines to transmit official messages and informal inquiries to other companies, whether within the vicinity or across continents. Offices used paper-based inter-office memoranda to communicate among staff and departments within the same company. Of course, there were disadvantages to this, including issues in timeliness of message arrival (or circulation) and costs (such as long-distance phone calls).
The advent of email changed all that, as messages got more speedily delivered and the response could be received as quickly, too. There were also cost advantages—even with the infrastructure being initially expensive at the early days of adoption, the per-message cost was close to zero.
Instant messaging was a technology developed almost the same time as email. The difference, as the name suggests, is that communication through IM has more of an instant nature, than email which is akin to sending a written letter. But what are the implications to businesses?