The article below is interesting in that it does call out a dark truth - enterprise adoption of feed syndication tools has been lacking. However, the article disappoints because it gives too much credit to feed readers as the reason. I wish it was that easy. There are a host of reasons why Enterprise RSS has not taken off yet (vs. died).
The first concept to understand is that the key focus point for Enterprise RSS is not the reader - it's the feed syndication platform (the server back-end) that provides centralized administration, feed management and other services (e.g., synchronization of read/unread marks, de-duping of redundant feed items, etc). These platforms are not cheap - enterprise deals can average a six figure number. Sure - people may not want to pay for a feed reader when there are so many free ones available but that's really not the key blocking factor - just one of several. Here's a list of reasons I've come up with that categorize what I hear from enterprise clients in this area:
- A lot of intranets are "content poor" (why subscribe if there's nothing of interest)
- Intranet web site owners have not made their sites "RSS friendly"
- Employees may not know about feed readers and feed syndication (an awareness, education and training issue)
- IT organizations might not have rolled out any tools that focus on RSS
- In tools that support RSS as a feature, IT might not have "turned on" that capability (e.g., via administration/policy management settings)
- Employees may be unwilling to change their behaviors to take advantage of feed readers (if they have been rolled out)
- IT organizations may look at feeds as increasing their attack surface area in terms of security (e.g., malware)
- Business and IT decision-makers may be concerned about confidentiality and compliance aspects of feed syndication
- IT organizations may be concerned about network utilization and their inability to manage bandwidth concerns
- Justification for back-end servers to aggregate and management feeds centrally (i.e., a feed syndication platform) lacks a clear business case
This list is off the top of my head - I could go on... (feeds might be used to deliver content to a site (corporate portal) without readers even being aware that the information they are viewing comes from a collection of back-end feeds - no large vendor has a feed syndication platform re: IBM, Microsoft or Oracle which might make some IT folks uneasy about relying on a small vendor for essential middleware).
Like many others, I am surprised/disappointed that this market has not hit its stride yet. I think it will take about two years before we see it unfortunately. This is a classic middleware chicken-and-egg problem. Right now, why should people deploy an expensive middleware layer when the ROI is not clear and the pain has not reached a critical mass?
That said, I have always felt that feed syndication platforms constitute the backbone for social software/Enterprise 2.0 tools. This space remains one of the most critical architectural areas for enterprise strategists - it touches on everything organizations are doing with blogs, wikis, tagging and social bookmarking systems, and social networking. Feed syndication platforms will likely play a supporting role when microblogging tools are introduced as well. These platforms can also help with syndicating information from operational systems (more data-centric). The emerging concept of activity streams (which I conceptually refer to as "social presence") will also benefit from such middleware. Kinda "way out", there's also an interesting potential touch point between feed syndication platforms, analytics, alert/notification and complex event processing.
Bottom Line: It's not dead - it's still being born...
R.I.P. Enterprise RSS - ReadWriteWeb
It's with a heavy heart and a sense of bewilderment that we conclude that the market for enterprise-specific RSS readers appears to be dead. Two years ago there were three major players offering software that delivered information to the computers of business users via RSS. Today it looks to us like the demand simply never arose and that market is over.
A smattering of employees in big companies are using the free consumer app Google Reader, a paltry substitute for a business class RSS reader, and the rest of the business world is apparently satisfied to get information whenever they happen to stumble over it. It's insane - a solid RSS strategy can be a huge competitive advantage in any field. We have no idea why so relatively few people see that.
We love RSS and this makes us really sad. If much of the rest of the world wants to ignore this technology, though, it's their loss. It's our bread and butter. Neglecting RSS at work seems to us like pure insanity.
Is Enterprise RSS Dead? (Agree but security is just one barrier but not the only (or even primary) reason why this space has not taken off.)
Enterprise RSS at NewsGator is Alive and Well (NewsGator is doing the best of the lot (vs. Attensa and KnowNow (gone under) but NewsGator has a consumer angle, a widget play, a community/social networking extension for SharePoint in addition to its feed syndication platform). I think it's hard to just talk about Enterprise RSS and NewsGator's success.