ProcessOne's HostedIM offers business-class instant messaging for SMEs

ProcessOne has launched a new hosted instant messaging (IM) service aimed at SMEs. Dubbed Hosted.IM, it allows businesses to easily create a “business-class” IM capability using their own domain name without the cost of managing the required hardware and software in-house.

It’s free for up to 5 users after which ‘packs’ can be purchased for up to 10, 25, 50, 75 or 100 users and are “priced accordingly” – although I couldn’t actually find pricing details anywhere on ProcessOne’s website. That said, IM is regarded by consumers as a free service so why would small businesses want to actually pay for such functionality?

The Paris-based company says that consumer-facing IM services “don’t offer the security and compliance that today’s businesses require.” For example, ProcessOne’s Hosted.IM offers message archiving in which chat logs can be enabled depending on company policy and “industry-specific legal requirements.” Of course, each IM account also uses a custom domain name, which is certainly a more professional touch and ensures that the person you are chatting to does actually work for the same company.

Other features include the ability to add or remove users using the IMhosting web interface, group chat, connectivity with other networks (e.g. GTalk and Microsoft OCS), and file transfers.