Friday 16 January 2009

Wait, we've got a pulse - Enterprise RSS

Have you noticed the sudden resurgence of interest in Enterprise RSS in the blogosphere following the ReadWriteWeb's obituary post? Some notable posts include Suw Charman-Anderson, Mike Gotta (and follow up post), Anu Gupta, and Neville Hobson (and don't forget all the great comments). I would also love to hear Andrew McAfee's and Dion Hinchcliffe's thoughts on this topic, but nothing as yet.

Of course everyone has a slightly different opinion on why it has or hasn't died and a couple of key themes coming out of this discussion include:

  • Its not just about the terminology, although as an industry I still see some confusion about the term Enterprise RSS itself as meaning either the use of RSS for external marketing and communication purposes or the provision of feed infrastructure inside the firewall (if you don't understand what I mean, check out my slideshare deck on this).
  • The adoption of enterprise class RSS readers isn't an indicator of demand for Enterprise RSS - I agree with this observation and in fact part of the argument for Enterprise RSS is that enterprise users will need integrated access to feeds across multiple tools and channels, not just through a single desktop reader.
  • There is some concern that there aren't enough Enterprise RSS vendors out there and the big suite vendors don't have have any comprehensive offerings in this space - I would add that there isn't a comprehensive open source offering in this space either.
  • The type of technology that Enterprise RSS represents, the speed of change in enterprise IT, the widget approach to enterprise social computing and the politics of new software acquisition in large companies make it a hard and slow sell - for this reason, I really think Enterprise RSS needs enterprise IT champions behind it, but unfortunately I find that the IT people I meet either completely understand it or are blissfully ignorant (actually, it reminds me a lot about the attitude towards enterprise search - those that don't know any better think its easy).

On balance I think the general feeling out there is that Enterprise RSS does has a future, but how soon and in what form it will be realised isn't clear. In fact the only thing that will kill Enterprise RSS is the death of RSS and ATOM based syndication itself. You can read my own thoughts about what happens to Enterprise RSS moving forward and the dilemma of understanding how it can add value in this article from Image and Data Manager magazine.

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