According to a recent study conducted by a Menlo Park, California-based IT professionals provider, many of the more than 1,400 chief information officers surveyed think email may soon become obsolete in the business sector.

Researchers found that 54 percent of respondents believed instant messaging tools will be more popular among employees within the next five years, while 38 percent thought the technologies will remain equal in popularity and just 7 percent predicted instant messaging will be less popular.

"Although email remains an important communication tool, the increased use of real-time technologies affects the IT environment," said John Reed, executive director of the California-based firm. "IT professionals should consider the importance of keeping current with real-time technologies in order to stay competitive in the job market."

The study cites speed, convenience and the social aspect as the three driving factors behind the growing adoption of real-time tools.

Reed added that HR administration may want to include updated instant messaging guidelines in employee handbooks to ensure that proper etiquette is enforced and understood, HREOnline reports. For example, staff should be reminded not to discuss sensitive information and to be respectful of others' views.

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