Setting up a small company IM system... Can you tell me the quick steps?

I used Spark as the IM for the last company I worked for. I was not in IT, so all I had was the Spark Client to deal with.

I want to set up an IM system for our office, about 5 people. I am in a satellite office, and IM would help when a phone call comes in, when the coffee is ready and such. We operate out of our own home offices occasionally and this would be a benefit versus texting messages as we have been doing… Also, if we wanted the system to be accessible when we work out of our home offices, we’d need it to be internet accessible too, not just the LAN.

I gather that OpenFire needs to be the server and Spark is the client (something transparent to me at the last job…). Therefore, OpenFire needs to be housed on a server, preferably one that is always on. So… Our office manager does not turn her computer off ever, but she does log out of her user account at night.

Could Openfire run on another user account on her Windows box to act as the server for this system, or would I need to get another computer to run the server full time? Since we will have a limited small user base, I am not sure what the demands would be.

I saw a site in a google search that used a Raspberry Pi for a server… Would this actually work for what I want to do?

Since I will be setting up from scratch, I am looking for a link to info or advice for this situation. If it’s posted somewhere and I missed it before posting this, my apologies…


Do you have any central onsite servers now? like an email, file server, or print server?

No, not at this time. I had thought if we had, I would install it on that server and be done with it. I have come to the realization since posting that I am going to have to set up a box here in the office to act as the server. We have a spare, so I am gonna give it a whack later this afternoon. The office needs a system like this, so I am assuming my steps would be to set up a server, and then connect the clients to that address…

If you setup Openfire to run as a service, then you don’t have to login to any account, or someone can be logged with his account and doing his work and service will be running along in the background. Openfire: Installation Guide

Not sure about the Raspberry PI. You would need some operating system on it, presumably some minimal Linux OS without graphical interface, so this can get too tricky.

The hardest part would be to make it work on the Internet. You will need to make your server visible from the Internet, by opening ports in your router/firewall, possibly setting up DNS name if you want outside accessing the server by its name and not the IP address of your router.

what do you use for collaboration and email? If your using a cloud bases service, they might already have an IM service too (like google apps)