Wednesday 30 April 2008

Reflecting on the Enterprise RSS Day of Action

Just less than a week ago a few people with an eye on the big picture of Enterprise Web 2.0 joined me for a global Enterprise RSS Day of Action. I've already thanked a whole bunch of people on Twitter and tried to link to every post I could find that talked about Enterprise RSS (If I missed you, add a link to your post as a comment below). But just to be sure I wanted to say to everyone who contributed to the wiki, shared their experiences with Enterprise RSS directly with me or joined us online for the conversation about Enterprise RSS on the day... a big, big thank you!

Now, what did I learn from the day?

  • People are interested in using "feeds" inside organisations, although most of the people I spoke with are only at the stage of RSS-ifying existing content and providing users with desktop RSS reader. Some are constrained by the dependency on other software deployments - either at the server (waiting for a version of their CMS or portal that supports RSS) or the desktop (waiting for an upgrade to an email client with RSS support built in). Unfortunately RSS isn't seen yet as a key part of the messaging infrastructure.
  • Enterprise RSS is one of two things to most people - its either part of the Enterprise 2.0 infrastructure, what you might call "social middleware" (from Mike Gotta), or a solution to a particular business problem. I think the challenge for the business issue perspective is that it may not require Enterprise RSS infrastructure to solve it (which is typical of the first step being taken by many organisations, as described above), but without an Enterprise RSS infrastructure you don't offer the best possible user experience. In the longer term it also means that there is no platform for adding value or for meeting emerging needs as the use of RSS grows. This just means we have to be smart - to champion Enterprise RSS you need to understand the big picture, but to sell it to individuals inside an organisations (particularly the decision makers) you need to make sure you know why it might be important to them.
  • If you take the time to explain what RSS and Enterprise RSS is all about, people want it. Unfortunately even people who live and breath information technology all day long aren't always across every information technology out there. During my own internal brown bag session I could see that as people understood more, they could see the opportunities for using Enterprise RSS as part of the mix with other enterprise information management solutions. In some respects, Enterprise RSS is a missing link.
  • Also, in most cases you can't talk about Enterprise RSS without talking about email!

Overall, I don't think that Enterprise RSS Day of Action changed the world, but this was never the intention - I'm just pleased that we're having this conversation. However, I'm also feeling a bigger disconnect between what excites the external world of Web 2.0 and the reality inside the firewall - more on that in another post, however this post from Jeremy Thomas is one of a few out there that captures something of what I'm talking about:

"When I started I came in guns ablazing with a consultant’s mindset. “What, no data warehouse, no sweat. We’ll implement a master data management strategy and breathe life into dying data. And let me tell you about this nifty little thing called Enterprise 2.0. It’s going to revolutionize the world, man. Ever heard of SLATES?”. Sarcasm aside, people had actually heard about Enterprise 2.0 and were actually keen on the idea. But seeing things from the other side I’m starting to think Enterprise 2.0 will be overwhelming for many."

In these still early days, being an Enterprise RSS champion requires a delicate balance between being visionary and pragmatic.

BTW The Enterprise RSS Day of Action was overshadowed by other Web 2.0 related events going on around the world, but it didn't go unnoticed that Microsoft's big new Web 2.0 move, Live Mesh, is underpinned by RSS. Quite funny really to see this blog comment about Mesh:

"One of my pain point has been the lack of syncronisation of RSS feeds that I’ve read between my PC, laptop and work PC. I’m hoping Live Mesh may be the solution for this."

Hmm. And so the story of Enterprise RSS continues...

What did you do about the Enterprise RSS Day of Action or think about Enterprise RSS more generally? Add your comments and experiences below.

Tuesday 29 April 2008

From Melcrum's Internal Comms Hub: Making sense of Enterprise RSS

To coincide with the Enterprise RSS Day of Action last week, I wrote a short article for Melcrum's Internal Comms Hub, titled Making sense of Enterprise RSS. Due to some technical issues it couldn't be published as normal on the day and instead a special PDF version was posted here (my article is on pages 3-4 of the PDF).

BTW the Internal Comms Hub is a subscription site, but you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to check out the rest of the content they have available.

Friday 25 April 2008

Following the sun... more on the Enterprise RSS Day of Action

As the Enterprise RSS Day of Action around the world draws to a close (its already Friday here in Australia - incidentally our ANZAC day public holiday), here are some links to some more coverage:

  • Our Legal industry Enterprise RSS champion, Doug Cornelius, puts forward his argument for Enterprise RSS by asking you to "Take a look at your email inbox. If your inbox looks anything like my inbox, it is full of email from the administrative departments transmitting updated policies, events and information. Almost none of these emails are urgent or require me to take any action. So why are they clogging up my inbox, getting in the way of client communication and urgent communication?"
  • Ed Brill comments, "I worry slightly about focusing on the protocol itself versus the content and delivery approach, but we can use this to move beyond RSS as a buzzword towards solution-oriented value", and also link to a useful new article about RSS in Lotus Notes (probably a good starting point for any Lotus Notes shops out there).
  • Corey Lewis at the LaunchSquad (Newsgator is their client) marks the day and writes, "For anybody who deals with high volumes of information on a daily basis, RSS is an essential work tool. We'd be swamped without it, and waste many hours a week trolling through different blogs and news sources looking for the information we could have had delivered right to us. If you're not using RSS already (you admittedly may be even if you don't know it), hop on board - today's as good a day as any."
  • Meanwhile over on the Newsgator blog, they remind us about their widget for "the Day of Action. If you would like to track the day's activities, you can add this widget to your start page, social networking site, or blog with one simple click."
  • Scott Niesen at Attensa also blogs about their day presenting about Enterprise RSS at a chocolate factory - hmm, my kind of Enterprise RSS ;-)
  • Thanks also to Jesse Wilkins for helping to spread the word.

BTW Check out links to some other posts from the day here and here.

If I've missed anyone, let me know - just comment here or drop me a line.

Thursday 24 April 2008

A few more Enterprise RSS Day of Action posts

A few more Enterprise RSS Day of Action posts:

  • David Hobbie is "up to my elbows in Enterprise RSS as my firm has been evaluating various vendors and I've been making presentations to groups and individuals about RSS over the last two weeks in particular" and shares some links where he is discovering the power of RSS;
  • Chris Heller from Grey Sparling Solutions blogged about using a PeopleSoft solution they provide to allow desktop RSS readers to access secure RSS feeds from PeopleSoft... they have also announced a competition for a free copy of their software - what a great idea!
  • Hat tips also to Jasbinder Bains and fredscapes (in Dutch, but I presume its positive as the Dutch are pretty switched on kinds of people).

Also, while checking out who is saying what, I found this article from last September, Is Enterprise RSS the Next Killer App?, quoting Forrester Research.

PS I've also spotted a few people twittering about the day of action - so thanks for helping to spread the word.

Welcome to the start of the Enterprise RSS Day of Action

This morning, a couple of things to get us started:

  • Attensa shares their own 10 Things About Attensa Enterprise RSS in response to the 10 things I want!
  • Doug Cornelius helps to promote the day of action, and says "I consider RSS to be the glue that holds together Web 2.0 and especially Enterprise 2.0. Blogs and wikis are great tools. But they are even more powerful when they are pushing content out through RSS feeds. It is much more efficient to have relevant content pushed to you, rather than you having to seek it out."
  • Janet Johnson unpacks the debate about Enterprise 2.0 technology adoption, saying "enterprise RSS adoption is coming into fruition - but why has it taken us so many years to finally get here? Why do the folks considering enterprise RSS today have to be the 'forward thinking' ones? Because of fear" and then quoting some good advice from Martin Koser, "Don’t spend hours pondering the details and splitting hairs - actually use this stuff and find out."

I do hope you enjoy the Enterprise RSS Day of Action - it is as Martin says, a day to find out about this stuff. Now, I have to go, as I have my own brown bag presentation to prepare for later today. :-)

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Enterprise RSS in the news

As we approach the Enterprise RSS Day of Action tomorrow, just a quick round up of posts talking about Enterprise RSS:

Have you written a post about Enterprise RSS that I've missed? Let me know.

If you could be a social technology, be RSS/XML

Charlene Li is Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research was asked, if she could be a social technology, which would she be? Charlene Li replied:

"RSS/XML. Nobody would know who I am or what my initials mean, but I make everything work together. I’d be the foundation of mashups, social applications, and widgets. Without me, the social Web would grind to a halt."

Nice reply ;-)

And remember, the Enterprise RSS Day of Action is only a day away!

Monday 21 April 2008

Streaming and Batching

This is a great post from Ross Mayfield and a hat tip for the link to this NYT article (I'm a sucker for this kind of thing) that reminds us that techniques we use for managing our inboxes have nothing to do with the medium, its more about individual work practices and the efficiencies of batch processing.

Ross' point here is spot on:

"We've known for a while now that creating private spaces for collaboration can aid productivity by taking some email out of the inbox.  And more recently with wikis and the right practices, groups can agree on protocols to be more effective and adapt them rapidly... this needs discipline, but for the whole group."

This goes to the heart of what I've pitched as the solution for managing email overload in the past, where I advised:

"Only as a group can you deal with eliminating the source of the problem and develop workable protocols to help reduce the e-mail burden on each other."

In that same post I was also commenting about the potential for the use and misuse of RSS:

"I think the same lessons will apply to RSS, but there are new opportunities with this particular communication technology to help reduce information overload through a combination of more open communication styles, content filtering, and content mining... In other words, RSS could be used as a group communication technology where email is essentially peer-to-peer. In fact, using RSS in combination with email rather than as a replacement may be the best way to reduce and control information overload on both fronts.

However, on its own RSS will in no way be a magic bullet - if applied badly in organisations, people should be prepared for more of the same. In the meantime I can't wait to see how the email productivity advisors with their quick fixes evolve into RSS experts..."

(BTW I honestly didn't intend for this to be a post about RSS - let alone Enterprise RSS - but its funny how it comes back to RSS afterall!)

Of course, naturally Ross pushes the wiki perspective but I think what he suggests in his post about the interplay between streaming and batching of communication is essentially correct. At this point I can't but help think about Sam Lawrence's comments on Mike Gotta's blog that "Social software is email inside out", but that's a post for another day :-)

Enterprise RSS Day Of Action - Memes are Bubbling

Nice summary post by Janet about recent Enterprise RSS Day of Action posts on the Attensa blog. Janet says she'll be spending Thursday morning talking communication and collaboration online. Care to join her?

Dion Hinchcliffe: RSS and ATOM a hallmark of WOA adoption

From Dion Hinchcliffe, discussing how Web 2.0 success stories driving WOA and informing SOA and in his of 4 things that define what WOA (Web-Oriented Architecture) will look like in the enterprise:

"A rich web of REST resources. Instead of a few point SOA services, enterprise data will be exposed through millions of granular REST resources (like the Web itself), which almost any application than can consume HTTP and XML can use. Much higher levels of syndication using RSS and ATOM will also be a hallmark of WOA adoption as it has been so successful in unleashing the Web of data on the Internet."

As we've been talking about around the Enterprise RSS Day of Action, there is a lot more to Enterprise RSS than meets the eye.

Unmanagement, to be or not to be?

From time to time this issue raises its misinformed head – well, IMHO anyway. One of the recent examples was this post on the Fast Forward blog by Jon Husband titled, Retrospective on KM and the Impact of Web 2.0. He writes:

Knowledge management (KM) sometimes seems like the business buzzword that won’t go away. But that may be changing. As Web 2.0 penetrates and spreads through workplaces, will it render KM as it was once known obsolete … or not ?


While through the spread of social computing KM may be coming out of an initial identity crisis, the advent and rapid spread of what is termed Enterprise 2.0 has helped create for KM a new Identity Crisis 2.0. Today it seems clear that the new crop of collaboration tools, platforms and methods for enhanced collaboration are rapidly synthesizing and integrating fragmented or separate components of what was understood to be a KM-oriented system a few short years ago.

His post had quite a few responses, including comments from Stephen Collins, Doug Cornelius, Dan Keldsen and Paula Thornton.

Now, I have to say that this whole KM as social computing thing is getting rather boring really and I tried my best not to get sucked into it... but here we go...

I think Jon writes some interesting stuff (on his own blog) and the issues listed in his post are worthy of reflection, but a lot of the arguments here are underpinned by mistaking information management for knowledge management. Now this isn’t to say that Web 2.0 isn’t having a huge impact on the information workplace, because it is. Social computing has also been a breath of fresh air into KM, mainly because of the disappointments caused by failed KM initiatives that were really poorly implemented information management projects.

The other part of the argument that I’m not convinced about either is that 2.0 isn’t about the technology – now I guess this depends on how you apply the “2.0” label. In my book if you use it in reference to Web 2.0 how can it not be about the technology? And McAfee’s warning about the discomfort that Enterprise 2.0 might create is clearly about the impact that social computing technologies have on existing political structures inside organisations. If of course you are using the label 2.0 to reference some other major step change either in parallel or unrelated to Web 2.0, then it may well have nothing to do with the technology…

Now the practice of Knowledge Management mostly contains tools and techniques that have been borrowed from other disciplines, many of which either don’t require technology or the technology simply plays a role as either an indirect or direct enabler. For example, Social Network Analysis (SNA) pre-dates KM by many, many decades but SNA software has made it widely accessible and practical to apply in a (Knowledge) management context. Story telling is as old as mankind, but is recognised as a management tool – you don’t need technology to tell a story, but technology might be used to record and share a story. The unique nature of KM is to bring these tools and technique together with the objective of helping people in groups (organisations or otherwise) share what they know more effectively. Like any kind of management focus area it is a deliberate act to do KM and there is nothing magical. And just like you have a quality manager, a HR manager, a finance manager, naturally you might find a knowledge manager. Social computing on the other hand is bottom-up – it’s a kind of “unmanagement” if you like.

But the important point in this discussion is that you can take the technology out of KM and still do KM. However, KM has a lot of technology enabled tools and is often applied in technology enabled environments (e.g. large, distributed organisations) so it ends up having a socio-technical impact that is focused on the computing tools. Now Web 2.0 is also all about the technology and if you are talking about applying Web 2.0 or social computing inside an organisation, then it is going to have a socio-technical impact too. This means of course that Web 2.0 tools can be used in many different ways, and not strictly as pure social computing or Enterprise 2.0 tools.

So, I can understand why people might think Enterprise 2.0 will replace or supersede KM. The real fact of the matter is that many KM people simply recognised the benefits of these tools early on and have added them under the umbrella of KM, but they don't own them.

My reflection is that perhaps what Jon should have titled his post was, Retrospective on MANAGEMENT and the Impact of Web 2.0. Or maybe a blog post on the future of unmanagement, now that would be interesting.

Sunday 20 April 2008

From Bill French at MyST: Three enterprise RSS use cases

I'm trying all social media channels to raise awareness and encourage support for the Enterprise RSS Day of Action. Via LinkedIn Answers I've exchanged a few messages with Bill French at MyST (who were already listed on the wiki's list of vendors) - in response to some input from Jack Vinson, he made a great point about the many directions that business RSS feeds need to be shared:

"Jack makes a good point - the term "enterprise" is used in overloaded contexts frequently. RSS (itself) is also [frequently] used casually and without specific business requirements in mind.

I like to classify RSS use cases - three that are helpful include customer-facing, employee-facing (which are ideally secure), and partner-facing (which may or may not require a security context). There are others of course, but this is a good high-level starting point."

He also adds some others comments that certainly mirror some of the other conversations I've been having about Enterprise RSS in the last few weeks:

"The issue of feed source is also important - generating feeds for improved employee productivity and awareness is a relatively new and emerging science. For this use case, security and automation are two of the bigger challenges that raise some devils in the details. Is it enough to secure a feed, or does the use case require a security context for each item in the feed? (e.g., are there subscribers that see a subset of the items?)

Most enterprise applications (which contain the bulk of the content that employees might appreciate in RSS form) are unable to produce RSS easily, and even those that can seem to create a feed have not fully entertained the security issues. After all - most enterprise applications *do* have stringent security contexts for each user."

I also found this old post on the MyST site from late 2005 that made me chuckle (in a good way!), titled, Techno-terms have a habit of sticking -- Blog and RSS are simply the latest.

Newsgator coverage in RRW: AideRSS and Inbox 3.0

With the Enterprise RSS Day of Action only a few days away, good to see Newsgator getting some coverage on ReadWriteWeb:

  • AideRSS is now integrated with Newsgator's online reader, which (currently) filters the top 1000 subscribed blogs for popularity.
  • A new version of their RSS reader for Outlook has been launched, called Inbox 3.0 - "including enhanced relevancy, attention reporting, easy subscription adding, flag synchronization and a redesigned UI".

What's interesting is that both of these announcements include features that involve elements of social filtering of content, which is of course is part of that suite of functionality available in an Enterprise RSS system that goes beyond simply RSS-ifying content and giving users an application to read feeds.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Me, Matt and a podcast about Enterprise RSS

OK. I haven't quite got used to the idea of me being interviewed for a podcast, but I enjoyed the conversation with Matt. Of course, its all about Enterprise RSS and the Enterprise RSS Day of Action! And no, I couldn't remember what SLATES stands for either, but Matt has provided some links :-)

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Things you want from Enterprise RSS...

As I was putting together these slides, I asked via Twitter, about the things people wanted from Enterprise RSS... these are the suggestions I heard back:

Satisfied staff, participation, sales, best customer service, informed people, engaged executives, fun, knowledge management, communication, no email, Industry, competitor, major clients, suppliers, law changes, top industry bloggers, company events, internal broadcasts, most added RSS feeds, SSO, no repeat posts, SSE, must read flag, gateways, comments, trackbacks, multiple device read tracking, hooks for ETL and reporting tools (Business Objects) to promote dashboard information reuse... and good internal data in a consumable RSS format.

Some good ideas there - and notice its mostly a combination of:

  1. Outcomes (the benefits of RSS/Enterprise RSS);
  2. Content (the information delivered by RSS); and
  3. Functionality (of the Enterprise RSS).

This is one of the core issues about Enterprise RSS that we've been discussing around the Enterprise RSS Day of Action - to understand how the functionality of Enterprise RSS contributes to the content and how that content is consumed, and subsequently the benefits it provides.

Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas.

10 Things I Want From Enterprise RSS

These 10 things are inspired by the RSS services and functionality I've seen or experienced on the "consumer Web" that I want to have available inside the firewall too. Hopefully it also goes someway to explaining why Enterprise RSS is a different proposition from simply installing an RSS Reader on your work PC and RSS-ifying your intranet.

(View the slides on SlideShare)

This is another set of slides for people to reuse for the Enterprise RSS Day of Action. Enjoy!

BTW What 10 things do you want from Enterprise RSS? Follow up post coming...

Sunday 13 April 2008

Uploaded to SlideShare: Enterprise RSS, What?

A short slidedeck that you might like use as the basis for a presentation at your own Enterprise RSS Day of Action event. Feel free to share and remix as you see fit!

(View the slides on SlideShare)

Saturday 12 April 2008

Twitter: A my-way social computer

Trying to describe Twitter (and similar tools) to people who have never used them is hard. Trying to explain the value of the Twitter style of microblogging can be some what harder, especially if people don't get Twitter in the first place! Now, I was only just having one of those kinds of conversations with someone within CSC (actually a conversation via instant messaging), although in this case they "get" Twitter some what but we were trying to explore its application a bit more. A few days later I come across this post by Jive Software's Sam Lawrence about Twitter as a "two-way social computer" - summarised is this diagram:

As Ed Brill observes about Lawrence's post:

"The discussion on his blog has spun off into the notion of whether there should or should not be an "enterprise Twitter", or other ideas like channels and filters.  I personally would love to see two parallel streams -- IBMers and external -- in terms of visualization, even if the tweets themselves still end up in both places.  The other thing I'd like to watch for is how to better monitor who follows me -- it's a good reminder that the whole stream is public, and that any one 140 character string can certainly be taken out of context."

Actually, for those very reasons I actually have two Twitter identities - my public @chieftech account and a private Twitter account I've been using for work. This second account is really an experiment between a few of us at CSC over the last few months and this is what I've observed while we've been trying it:

  • Twitter simply isn't designed to allow the easy creation of private two-way following relationships, and there is no way of enforcing people who follow my private stream to keep their stream private too.
  • Right now it lacks the critical mass inside the firewall, but then if we reached critical mass would I want to follow and be followed by 90,999 other employees?
  • People direct message me to my public account anyway if they have something to say that they don't want shared in public.

This isn't to say my CSC-only Twitter account hasn't been useful - certainly it has demonstrated the potential of having a work related activity stream and a way to shout out for help, particularly for virtual teams or if team members are travelling or working offsite. But its a different, more restrained Twitter experience.

I've wondered if in fact what is needed is a way to encrypt tweets so I can use one Twitter identity but keep some tweets secret, but I think fundamentally Twitter only really works because its social nature creates diversity, which in mind is a major attraction. But them I'm not someone who attempts to follow or be followed by thousands of people. So for me Twitter is neither the one-way or two-way system that Lawrence has described - its an open system that happens to include people I work with and other people that I don't. In other words, my organisational membership doesn't define my Twitter membership. So, its a my-way social computer.

A world without Enterprise RSS

This post about "Enterprise RSS" is really more about organisations distributing information externally by RSS, however they make an excellent argument for the Enterprise RSS for internal enterprise users:

"all trends and predictions for 2007 indicate that there will be a seismic shift to mobile consumption of information. People with PDA’s, cell phones and RSS readers don’t surf the web anymore - they don’t have to. The content comes to them, when and where they want it."

Now, as I commented over on the ReadWriteWeb blog in response to Marshall Kirkpatrick's Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your RSS Reader:

"I would expand your tip about using multiple services to include using multiple devices. What I like about services like Google Reader and Bloglines is they offer both a full Web client and a reduced mobile client. I read RSS on different devices, but I don't want to read the same feed twice. I also use services like Yahoo! Pipes to mashup feeds in smart ways.

This is actually one of the reasons I'm so interested in Enterprise RSS and kicked off the idea of an Enterprise RSS Day of Action on the 24th April.

From this perspective, while a lot of your tips are great, they don't work inside the firewall if you want to consume internal and external RSS feeds at the same time, mashed up as appropriate, a consumed on different devices and in a way where you only read a feed once. But its not your tips... enterprise users need to agitate for better RSS support inside their organizations to get the RSS reading experience they deserve."

Enterprise users are lacking some of the tools and features available through the Web 2.0 consumer RSS ecosystem. And Enterprise RSS users want their RSS "when and where they want it" too!

The problem is that without Enterprise RSS this is hard to achieve, as most basic enterprise approaches to RSS use a simple Web content publishing approach - i.e. RSS content is published like any other Web content but consumed through an existing application or a desktop reader. However, the RSS content has no idea if anyone has actually read it and if a user wants to consume RSS feeds on different devices or even from different reading applications on the same device, well... bad luck.

Another way of thinking about this, as I've just commented here on my own blog, is imagine what life would be like for enterprise email users if we didn't have messaging infrastructure like Microsoft Exchange? Outlook would just be another email program and what would power features like directory services, offline access, public folders, Outlook Web Access (OWA) and calendaring? Overall it would be a pretty limited user experience.

Personally I think that a pretty limiting RSS experience for enterprise users - nothing like the rich options we take for granted as described by Marshall.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Why focus on Enterprise RSS?

I thought you might be wondering about the driver behind my interest in Enterprise RSS and the Enterprise RSS Day of Action?

Firstly, just in case you didn't know, I'm a consultant who is currently working for a large IT services company - Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) - and I have a professional interest in this stuff. However, this is strictly a personal project  - as an information system user in my own right, I want Enterprise RSS too! So when the people I work with got sick of me evangelising about Enterprise RSS I decided to take the issue online. So here I am.

Secondly, frankly I'm tired of the narrow and tactical approach to Enterprise 2.0 I see being hyped - a single wiki used as a cheap Web content management system (WCMS) gets you to about Enterprise 1.1, and no more. Scott Niesen along with others like Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen (in their Enterprise 2.0 report) are right to focus on Andrew McAfee's SLATES model, and Enterprise RSS is an important part of that ecosystem. Yes, its time anyone who is making a deliberate use of Enterprise Web 2.0 actually started thinking strategically... and Enterprise RSS is an important part of that strategic picture.

And BTW if you're talking to an Enterprise Web 2.0 "guru" and they aren't talking about Enterprise RSS, well I would be very worried (or be prepared to be given a short term tactical response - "hey, you just need a wiki").

Of course, that doesn't excuse us from thinking about the business value or how we package up Enterprise RSS for the people who are going to use it. I'm definitely not saying that. But we can't do that unless we have the strategic view ourselves.

BTW If you check out my slides on Intranet 2.0, you'll find slide 25 near the back with a pyramid broken into the following layers:

  1. Guidelines
  2. Applications and Services
  3. Infrastructure

RSS readers, forums, blogs and wikis are applications, but Enterprise RSS is part of the Intranet 2.0 infrastructure... and its only with the right infrastructure that users will be provided with the building blocks to meet emergent future needs.

Ok. Enterprise RSS rant over and out (for now).

RSS features in BEA's AquaLogic Interaction 6.5

Still on my Enterprise RSS thing... I noticed in the list of features in BEA's AquaLogic Interaction 6.5 that has just been released:

"Comprehensive RSS production and consumption: a comprehensive notification and subscription service that supports RSS generation to track new activity on common objects, as well as immediate or summary email updates. Additionally, the release features an RSS crawler, to import content into the search index and knowledge management framework via RSS"

Looking at the release notes, they describe these four specific new features:

  • RSS crawling: the web content crawler now understands RSS feeds
  • RSS portlets: users can display RSS feeds in portlets on My Pages or community pages
  • RSS consumption of AquaLogic Notification Service feeds (from Collaboration)
  • Per-user activity stream includes an RSS output

Incidentally, AquaLogic Interaction 6.5 also offers some activity stream features:

  • Activity Stream + REST API: each user has an activity stream (a list of activities/events) which can be enriched by any application that can communicate via HTTP
  • End-user status update: users can update their own status information; the status can be added to the user profile page and subscribed to by other users

Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to play with BEA's products, so I can't really tell you how on this works in practice. However, you can download evaluation versions quite easily off the BEA site - if only I had more time, and a spare server...

Care of Mike Gotta.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

The Technologist Perspective and the Business Perspective of Enterprise RSS

Scott Niesen at Attensa writes:

"Two posts caught my attention last week. Stu Downes' Enterprise RSS Day: Why Don't you use Enterprise RSS? and Craig Roth's Cornering the Corner Office about Information Overload.

What is striking about these two posts is how they address the same issue from two completely different perspectives: the Technologist Perspective and the Business Perspective."

Its a good point - business users understand email, but would lose interest if you tried to sell them SMTP and POP3. However, it would appear that to an extent even the technologist need to get up to speed with RSS - as Stu writes in his original post:

"I do regularly talk to IT folks from both within CSC and our customers and of those folks you find a huge dipole of opinion in terms of understanding what RSS is and its uses."

Then again, that's a fairly common experience when dealing with Web 2.0 related technologies inside the firewall.

Stu continues the discussion here and it worth also reading Craig Roth's post cited by Scott, who quotes Gary Masada, the CIO of Chevron, to highlight the business problem:

"Getting our arms around all the information we have.  We’re basically creating the Library of Congress every day or so, which makes finding a piece of information like finding a needle in a haystack.  Only that haystack is growing exponentially."

Then - similar to my own thoughts on managing email overload - Roth comments that:

"I’ve said many times before I think the media tends to focus too much on what individuals in a work environment can do about information overload (set aside time each day for emails, block out focused time, etc; see my personal attention management tips here) and doesn’t challenge the couple of folks in an organization that can really do something to make everyone else’s worklife easier and more productive.  These are the CEO, CIO, and IT owners of attentional technologies."

Following this path I actually uncovered an old post of mine, that reminded me of an another perspective that needs to be common to both IT and the business - a progressive attitude to managing information. Scott connects RSS back to Andrew McAfee's SLATES and suggests "Replacing the abbreviation RSS with words like signals, alerts, delivery". So:

  • The business wants tools to provide signals, alerts, delivery.
  • The technologists need to understand the role of Enterprise RSS in meeting that need.
  • And the organisation as a whole needs to start adopting, dare I say, a progressive Enterprise 2.0 inspired approach to managing information in a proactive, not a reactive way.

Enterprise RSS is a story about business value and benefits, but it is also a story about technology and part of a bigger adventure into the world of Enterprise 2.0.

The "E" has it

The feedback I'm hearing about the Enterprise RSS Day of Action logos is that the "E" version, provided by Newsgator, is the overall preferred design! Big thank you to everyone who provided feedback, to Newsgator for this new design, and of course Stu Downes for the original inspiration :-)

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Looking for feedback on Enterprise RSS Day of Action logos

We started with one design for the Enterprise RSS Day of Action logo from Stu Downes, but now those nice people from Newsgator have given us three more to consider...

From left to right I call them designs N, E and W. I think I like "E", but I'm terrible at making choices like this so I'd really like you help. So add a comment here to let me know what you think - or add your own ideas!

Hmm. Once we pick the final logo, maybe we need a t-shirt and other stuff to go with it? I can see it how... ;-)