Enterprise RSS channels your information streams
Attensa, NewsGator, and KnowNow target feeds to knowledge workers
RSS (really simple syndication) is a favored XML format for individuals to get information from sources such as news sites and blogs. In fact, a recent Pew Internet Foundation survey found nearly one in three individuals consumes RSS feeds. But for enterprises, the most telling response was that 63 percent of these RSS users subscribe to work-related feeds.
That latter finding shouldn’t surprise IT managers. After all, RSS readers are easy to install and use. This technology does a fine job helping workers cut through irrelevant information that floods portals, enterprise search results, and e-mail. But as RSS’s popularity rises, so do risks. For example, precious network bandwidth is consumed when many employees update the same feed. Plus, there are security risks associated with accessing inappropriate feeds.
To get around these issues and give more employees the benefit of RSS, organizations are adopting enterprise RSS solutions. I tested three hot products in this burgeoning area: Attensa Feed Server, NewsGator Enterprise Server, and KnowNow 3 Enterprise Syndication Solution.
As the names indicate, all use a central server to retrieve feeds once and then distribute them to many users -- often directly to a Microsoft Outlook folder. Moreover, sophisticated user management and control allows managers to automatically subscribe users to relevant feeds based on their roles. Yet users can still add their own subscriptions and share articles.
Another trait -- which you also find within enterprise search products -- is the ability to create special RSS taxonomies that match, say, your product lines or business units; this convenience helps users find feeds for those special research projects.
In all, enterprises using these solutions report measurable time savings -- often achieving full ROI in a few months.
Attensa Feed Server 1.1.7
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After you’ve set up the Feed Server, by specifying a user directory server or manually adding users and groups, you continue working in the AJAX administration Web site and begin adding feeds. You either pick from prepopulated lists or manually enter feed links. However, there’s an added step of then creating category folders and dragging and dropping feeds into the desired hierarchy before there’s a usable taxonomy.