Analysis of RSS and its Application in Enterprise Environment continued...


Written on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Gemini


Anecdotal evidence on the spread of RSS technology within corporations suggests that, to date, few companies have taken a policy decision to comprehensively deploy RSS within their organization. Where RSS readers are currently in use in companies, it is likely to be a personal initiative rather than company policy.

Why, then, should corporations promote the adoption of RSS technology? What are the drivers for further uptake?

This debate has so far focused on the benefits of RSS versus e-mail. The increasing tide of junk mail is giving rise to ever-more draconian anti-spam measures. It is getting hard for corporate managers to decide which scenario is worse – a flood of unwanted emails each day or the risk of anti-spam software blocking a vital message.

For anyone wanting to send or receive a regular report, message or electronic newsletter within a corporate firewall, RSS is looking like an increasingly attractive − and secure − option. The end-user can control the flow, both in terms of what is received, its frequency and whether it alerts the users to the arrival of the message. This "pull" aspect of RSS technology fundamentally differentiates it from the "push" of e-mail.

In broad terms, RSS is best at delivering "FYI" information while email is best for actionable, two-way, communications.

There are, of course, a myriad of other uses to which RSS can be put within a corporate environment. Consider the following:
  • A competitive information professional uses his RSS reader to gather regular information from the websites of direct competitors, industry blogs, independent analysts and the news media.
  • A corporate communications director ensures the widest possible coverage of her latest press release by making it available as an RSS feed and ensuring its dissemination via a news aggregator such as Moreover Technologies.
  • An internal communications manager sends out a regular daily report to all company employees across the world. This includes both internal data and externally sourced information. RSS is one chosen option – with RSS no-one is inadvertently left off the circulation list.
  • A consultant needs to keep a customer regularly updated on the progress of a particular project. One secure way of doing this is to keep a weblog and make it available to the customer as an RSS feed.
  • Project teams need to keep in close touch even though they might be located on two continents. RSS is an effective and secure way of sharing data and highlighting issues.
  • A sales executive wants to keep sending regular messages to a valued customer, especially concerning special promotions. He needs to be sure that his messages are getting through. Both sides agreed that RSS is the answer.
  • Corporate bloggers – for example, the CEO who wants to communicate directly with staff or customers – need an audience. RSS is a quick method of reaching out and getting a response.
  • A company has just released a new service and wants direct and regular feedback from charter customers. The customers agree to keep a weblog of their experience with the service. The company receives regular updates using RSS.
  • Company documentation needs to be kept up-to-date. This includes procedure manuals, employee handbooks, health and safety regulations or price lists. These change regularly and staff need to be notified. While the updated document can be posted on the corporate intranet, the changes can be highlighted using RSS.
  • A VP of marketing is organizing her company’s annual conference. This will include customers, suppliers and staff. The agenda and logistics keep changing and she uses RSS to ensure everyone is kept up-to-date. After the event she uses RSS to circulate the power-point presentations and an audio track.
In my next and final post in this series, I will discuss a case study for RSS.

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