Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Better Communication Through Blogs, Wikis and RSS

E-mail comes and goes. We need a place to collect and build communication.

Email has become the principal means of business communication. My theory for its widespread adoption is that is just like typing a letter or making a phone call. Therefore, it was relatively easy for users to translate their existing communication processes to email. Although email has become widespread, it took years for it to get to that place.

Blogs and wikis are still in their infancy for business communication, but we should look ahead with their potential.

I find the key to enabling them as a communication tool is to tie them to the enterprise with an enterprise RSS feed aggregator. I recently looked at the Attensa product and tied it into the next generation of our intranet using Sharepoint 2007 .

The proverbial light went on over my head. I now see the intranet as a communication tool instead of a mere content repository.

The blog becomes the way to collect communication and distribute it. But the communication is no longer a disruptive email. It moves communication that is not actionable out of the email inbox. People do not need to save the email to later recall the message. The intranet search can easily retrieve the blog posting.

The wiki combines a document with the communication of changes to the document. Instead of drafting a substantive memo and circulating the memo by email, the user creates a wiki page. Those interested in/ subscribed to the wiki topic get a notice of the new wiki page. But the notice comes through the RSS aggregator instead of email. And the reader does not need to save the email and memo to retrieve the memo. The wiki moves an email and a bulky attachment out of the email traffic flow. The intranet search can easily retrieve the wiki page.

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