Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Enterprise RSS: Connecting People, Information & Communities

Delivering a communication channel that enables people to subscribe to the information they need, includes filtering and alerting mechanisms to notify people of important changes, and provides access points across multiple application contexts, is an incredibly powerful solution. Deployment of feed syndication platforms to manage proliferation of RSS feeds can improve worker productivity, drive business performance and aid in community-building efforts across people with common information interests. In this panel, senior strategists from leading enterprise RSS vendors and enterprise customers share their perspectives on market trends across different industries.

  • Mike Gotta, Principal Analyst, Burton Group
  • Brian Kellner, VP of Products, NewsGator
  • Scott Niesen, Director of Marketing, Attensa
My Notes:

Brian started off with a background on NewsGator with its background in the consumer side, but is now moving into the enterprise RSS and, in particular, integrating with Sharepoint.

Scott gave a background on Attensa and, of course, their enterprise server. (One difference is that Attensa is only an enterprise product. They did not come from the consumer side like NewsGator.) He highlighted the attention stream feature of Attensa that prioritizes the RSS content and pushes your most popular/used/read feeds to the top of your attention stream.

Most of the audience is familiar with RSS and enterprise RSS. Most of the audience uses a browser-based reader; few were outlook plug-ins and a few were RSS reader clients.

Mike quizzed Brian and Scott as to why we need them and why the big vendors are not in the space.

Attensa wants to help companies embrace RSS as an company communications tools. He sees breaking company communication into "need to respond" and "need to know." Need to know items would be RSS and need to respond would be email. Also it is a better way to harness the good information outside the firewall with the flow inside the firewall.

Brian thinks the big vendors are just missing it. It is not a clear message or product for them to get their arms around it. There is also an important security element. Consumer-focused rss readers do not handle security well. The product also makes it easier to get new people up and running in the organization and into the flow. It is key to tie into LDAP to get people subscribed to the feeds the need and the feeds they should have.

Synchronize, security, download control and analytics are key features.

An audience member raised the issue of consuming the content. Should there be a predominant way to access your RSS feeds. Power users may want the more robust features of a full client, some people cannot be removed from outlook and some live by their blackberry. One of the great features of both the NewsGator and Attensa servers in the ability to synchronize the feed across the platforms. An item is marked read across the platform. Brian indicated that he routes his feeds through NewsGator clients in different ways. Some go to his Sharepoint reader, some to his client, some to his blackberry. (This seems to be different from the synch model of enterprise RSS.)

Patrick from Wallem a shipping company told his story about implementing enterprise RSS. (Like the FedEx presentation, information flow is very important to the physical

Simon from Pfizer told part of his story about implementing enterprise RSS. They are rolling out Sharepoint and see enterprise RSS as a way to improve the communication nature of Sharepoint. Simon says not to focus on email. Focus on the communications. RSS allows you to push external content and make people aware.

There is a concept of pushing a reading list of feeds as part of the on-boarding process. Attensa has a browse directory of feeds that users can shop among and pick their own in addition to the feeds pushed to them.

Patrick pointed out that enterprise RSS can create on the fly channels of communication to be able to push information out. This is particularly useful in the event of an emergency or unusual event.

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