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January 15, 2009


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Eric Brown

Hi Mike - You make a great point...Outlook RSS does suck....but it is still supported in most organizations.

I wonder if forcing users to use Outlook for reading RSS has caused a lot of folks to stay away from RSS at work? Good question worth looking into :)

Tim Bull

As it's only a discussion in comments and there were a lot of them for you to review, I'll cop the mis-interpretation on what I've said. However, I'd like to clarify myself better.

1. I didn't say Sharepoint or Lotus Connections are Feed Aggregators. I said that some of the information produced by Lotus Connections in particular is ONLY really consumable via RSS. This by implication will drive a need for a better RSS platform. Users of Lotus Connections will know exactly what I mean; there are lots of points where you can get feeds and very very few where you can get e-mail notifications. As these Enterprise class tools are implemented, this in turn will drive the need for Enterprise RSS aggregation platforms.

2. Lets wait and see till after LotusSphere next week if IBM are "solving this problem" or not. If there is no further noise around Spectacular which IS a feed aggregation client they were developing internally last year, I'll agree with you that they've backed away from this.

From my own experience as an Enterprise Architect for a firm of 160,000 staff, I know that it's only now that our territories are starting to see the value and commence pilots of enterprise RSS solutions. Perhaps your right and time will show we left this support for the industry too late. I believe it's the calm before the storm.



Eric Madariaga

Outlook RSS integration is certainly lacking in some respects, however in my experience enterprise RSS rarely includes conventional feed items either.

One thing that is often overlooked with the outlook RSS reader is the ability to integrate with the Outlook rules engine. For enterprise RSS this enables some very interesting scenarios. It is possible to quickly throw together ad-hoc workflows etc. based on item content. For example, a feed of sales leads can be automatically filtered on the client side to highlight and automatically respond to product requests etc.

Add to that that Outlook is entirely extensible, with a wealth of 3rd party extensions available, and you have a relatively flexible platform delivered in a package that many IT managers trust.

Mike Gotta

Eric - Newsgator and Attensa have better feed readers that integrate with Outlook than Microsoft provides natively. I generally recommend people avoid the native capability and focus on those vendors for the free plug-in (although Outlook plug-ins have their own downside in some IT orgs).

That said, you're right - Outlook does have some interesting features but I would suggest that for enteprise environments, the rules engines should be on the back-end.

For instance, Wallem used SharePoint, K2 and Attensa to build a very compelling logistical workflow system that supported multiple end-points, including Blackberry as I recall.


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