A lot of great comments over at the main article: R.I.P Enterprise RSS. I thought a few deserved additional feedback:
#8. The consumption of Enterprise RSS feeds and the creation of the content in the feeds are both at fault here. There isn't enough 'good' information coming out of 'enterprise' RSS feeds and many people don't understand RSS (still).
When it comes to RSS readers, we've got to look at the enterprise itself and ask the following questions:
Does IT want users installing yet another software product?
Probably not. Microsoft Outlook is fairly standard in most large organizations. When people have to subscribe to internal / Enterprise RSS, IT staff will normally chose an existing application (Outlook) to read RSS.
Do users see the value in the RSS feed?
Many people still don't understand RSS. I've yet to run across an organization that puts really valuable information on an RSS Feed. If there is no valuable information on the feed, why subsribe? Hence...the reason Enterprise RSS is dying/dead.
I strongly agree that those thinking about application design, information architecture, search, collaboration, portals, and so on need to think about feed syndication as another communication channel and user experience around feeds as the build and deploy systems. You cannot assume that people will interact with content only on the web site or within the application container. Good point.
Microsoft's implementation of RSS within Outlook is horrible. I tried it - tried to get rid of it - and suffered with it until I got a new machine with a new build of Office. The Outlook team should be embarrassed by the user experience and the quality of the feature. I like the light-weight feed reader within IE though - it is not designed for power users but it does what I expect it to do and no more. Also note: IE installs the Windows RSS Platform to help manage feeds. I thought the idea of a common subsytem for feeds was great but Microsoft missed an opportunity by not positioning the Windows RSS Platform as a universal tool for all desktop feed readers. And on the Outlook side, unfortunately, the Outlook team decided to build their own parallel subsystem so you end up with having to sync both clients - but, since there is no unified storage - all the feeds in IE and Outlook are stored twice (isn't that just wonderful)...
#10. I wonder whether you're conflating two issues here: enterprise use of RSS as a technology and enterprise workers use of third-party RSS readers.
To take the second point first, most enterprise workers aren't allowed to just go and install any old software on their PCs. This would account for the lack of presence of these readers. Also, reading RSS is likely viewed as not work related, and so its frowned upon within the enterprise (remember, those enterprise folks have "real" work to do, they don't get paid to read BoingBoing all day long).
I think the more pertinent point is, where is the use of RSS as a technology within the enterprise.
Obviously, outbound marketers are starting to use it to syndicate messaging via blogs and corp web sites. However, I suspect inbound use is beginning to pick up. My evidence for this is purely anecdotal, as I haven't worked in the enterprise for quite a while, however, for the past couple of years I've had tangential connections to Microsoft SharePoint projects. These are only just starting to roll out in the enterprise - It takes big companies forever to change how they do things (the proverbial business processes), but once an idea takes hold, change can happen quite quickly.
I think Microsoft SharePoint could be the killer app for RSS in the enterprise. SharePoint has RSS built in and uses it to syndicate changes that happen within the SharePoint ecosphere and notify enterprise workers that something significant has happened. Of course, SharePoint RSS could work with third-party RSS readers, but it's really designed to be used with Microsoft's Office Suite, where enterprise workers can interface with SharePoint, through RSS and other means, directly.
So, I wouldn't write off RSS in the enterprise just yet. But, you're more likely to see adoption if it's wrapped in guise of cool applications (like SharePoint) rather than cool technologies.
I do agree that Enterprise RSS is not a great label. RSS is a technology/protocol. And it confuses the architectural discussion when you want to talk about Atom, the protocol people should actually be focused on within the enterprise (along with Atom Pub). That said - SharePoint is just another application that has feeds. It is not a feed syndication platform. The SharePoint team made a really bad architectural choice in going with RSS and hopefully we will see Atom/Atom Pub implemented in the next version. SharePoint does not manage feeds from other sources - it just makes its own information available via feeds just like ERP, CRM, ECM and other application systems. So SharePoint is one of many "killer apps" that could be exposing business insight via feeds. NewsGator is doing quite well with its SharePoint integration leaving Microsoft to focus on other more pressing things for SharePoint (perhaps improving its blog and wiki capabilities for a start...)
#35. I strongly second Rick's and Scott's view that people are talking too much about technology and products and not enough about real-world use cases. Simply stating how great RSS is and that it could be very useful won't get you much buy-in, not from management nor most importantly end-users. We need to make the technology relevant to the people, not the other way around. Understand users and use cases, then decide on technology!
In two of our projects with large law firms we included an RSS feedreader in the social software mix (among wiki, blogs, social bookmarking).
We introduced it primarily to Knowledge Management Lawyers (KML) that needed to gather a lot of content from various sources. They also use it to subscribe to updates from the wiki and blogs. They appreciate the fact that it is much easier to plow through a stream of updates rather than going from email to email and deleting every one of them. Some of the lawyers picked up that concept, too and started using an feedreader. Others wanted to consume their feeds on their BB or in their Inbox, which was catered for as well.
Have a look at two case studies: Dewey & LeBoeuf and Allen & Overy
In another project with a large law firm we took a very close look at the production (and consumption) of current awareness material. Current awareness included for example information on current developments within legal practices, latest court decisions etc. The firm made extensive use of newsletters to disseminate that kind of information. There was a multitude of newsletters available, some of them covering similar grounds. Maintaining email lists was very time-consuming and frustrating. Consumers did not know which newsletter were available. Also, newsletters were not personalised nor very timely, as they had a specific publishing date. We therefore recommended using RSS as delivery format, which would make the process of producing and consuming content more efficient and in the end more cost-effective as shown in a business case. This has been piloted but not been fully rolled out yet.
At E20 in Boston last year Attensa showcased another very interesting use case of RSS .
It's true RSS has not taken off yet, partially because people don't understand the different concept, but also because we have not fully explored its full potential yet.
Nevertheless, RSS does play a vital role in the 'Social Stack'enabling a free flow of information. Once CRM, DMS, Intranet and other proprietary system vendors thoroughly implement RSS functionality, it will get a big push. And with more and more information floating around via RSS we will need the likes of Newsgator, Attensa or GoogleReader.
Another good point on the label re: Enterprise RSS. I would like to see something more easily understood by the average worker vs. a technologist. But this comment makes a great point regarding applications. It is all about business applications. I don't see use of RSS to improve general productivity as the reason for large organizations to invest in this type of middleware. When I talk to financial services firms (perhaps the most aggressive adopter), they describe applications that support real business processes. Ditto for pharma firms I talk to on the subject. The callout in the comment of the Wallem application is great - I consider it one of the most compelling applications that have been publicly described.
Right now the smaller enterprise feed syndication platform vendors in this space are: Newsgator, Attensa and RSSbus. I am not a proponent of using consumer tools to access enterprise (intranet) feeds due to possible security and confidentiality reasons (e.g., Google Reader).
#68. I think this is mistaking (to use Gartners Hype Cycle) the "trough of disappointment" for the death of RSS.
Enterprise RSS vendors may of jumped to early in offering a product, however the fundamentals are starting to shape up:
* Major vendors in Microsoft and IBM are increasingly offering products that not only produce RSS feeds, but in the case of Lotus Connections, can only produce some information flows via RSS subscription (no e-mail production). No-one doubts the take of of Lotus Connections or Sharepoint, these products being adopted by Enterprises today will drive a need for Enterprise RSS tomorrow.
* Analysts often get over-excited about a technology and massively under-estimate the time to adoption for large Enterprises as mentioned by others in the comments. We are only now (I work in a large global professional services firm with over 160,000 staff) starting to see knowledge managers get their heads around what RSS has to offer and the first projects looking to run pilots are just kicking off.
* Enterprise Vendors (and Newsgator, KnowNow and Attensa aren't) are only starting to think about offerings in this space. IBM has internal product offerings they are looking to release, Microsoft has long been speculated to acquire NewsGator, I'm sure others are similar. When the Enterprise Vendors finish playing catch-up, the Enterprises will follow.
All we have now is that period where tidal waves suck all the water out to see before it comes crashing down over us.
The idea that large vendors are solving this problem is fundamentally incorrect. IBM Lotus Connections is just another application with feeds, nothing more. There was talk at the Enterprise 2.0 conference that IBM would build its own version of NewsGator but they seem to be backing off the claim they made publicly when debating Microsoft during a workshop I moderated).
Connections is not a feed syndication platform. Neither is SharePoint. Feed Syndication Platforms are a classic example of middleware - they aggregate feeds from many other sources, provide centralized management, enable control of network bandwidth, provide centralized policy control, help with de-duping feed items, help with synchronizing read/un-read marks across multiple feed readers a person might be using (mobile, browser, email etc).
It is true though that vendors jumped in early - smaller vendors typically react more quickly than large ones. Either Microsoft or IBM should acquire NewsGator. Oracle is a possible dark-horse - they could deliver something but have not disclosed an end-to-end system.