Enterprise RSS channels your information streams
Attensa, NewsGator, and KnowNow target feeds to knowledge workers
From this point, I simply checked off options on forms to subscribe groups to individual feeds or multiple categories. Similarly, I set defaults for each group, such as whether feeds would be delivered to Outlook and which publishing features were enabled.
There’s suitable reporting, including which users are reading what feeds, the number of feeds in the system, and related statistics.
For end-users, my testing indicated that Attensa for Outlook has minimal memory impact on Outlook. Feed Server works in the background gathering and processing RSS feeds, which were quickly pulled into Outlook using the standard MAPI protocol. As a result, when I signed into Outlook, the latest feeds were immediately available. Moreover, after I subscribed to a new feed, that information was sent to the appliance so the feed was kept current for everyone else who also had it on their personal subscription list.
Attensa’s Outlook plug-in provided the best user experience of the products reviewed. Its clean interface -- with resizable panes and multiple views -- was further adjustable to my working style. For example, subscriptions could be displayed as one large news feed or by categories. In both cases the text layout was easy to read. Additionally, organizations can apply custom style sheets to match corporate branding.
You get several ways to arrange feeds in the order of importance: Predictive Ranking (feeds that would likely interest you based on the streams you read most frequently and consistently), personal favorites, or by date. I observed that Attensa’s analytics techniques did indeed improve feed relevance the more I used the system.
Working with feeds was also a positive experience. An intuitive toolbar attached to each feed allowed me to add tags (keywords), forward articles to coworkers, and publish directly to Six Apart Weblog products, including Movable Type and TypePad. On the security side, Attensa ensured that passwords for my personal premium subscriptions were not available to others. Additionally, I liked the automated timer that updated feeds and deleted any read or unread subscriptions on a custom schedule.
The AJAX Web site and mobile clients delivered a reasonable desktoplike experience. Although you can’t perform certain advanced functions (such as publishing articles), they nonetheless provide access to secure and public corporate information to mobile workers.
Of special interest, Attensa integrates with Salesforce.com. In this case, SFA changes are pushed directly to your mobile device via RSS -- eliminating the step of going to Salesforce.com to get updates on clients or prospects.
What’s more, Attensa’s AttentionStream synchronizes desktop, mobile, and Web RSS readers -- meaning articles read, filed, and deleted are consistent across all platforms. The only problem I found is that this feature currently works only if you have the Outlook plug-in. (An Attensa representative said they are working to implement this from the server so that it will function regardless of the combination of interfaces someone runs.)
Attensa gives you multiple deployment options, from configuring Outlook users with or without a desktop client to a Web interface and mobile options. The Outlook plug-in is laudable for features and usability. And intelligent ranking of feeds is noteworthy.
NewsGator Enterprise Server 1.4.1