Thursday, December 22, 2005

RSS - Could it Change the Face of Employee Portals?

RSS - Really Simply Syndication - is taking the web by storm, even more so than blogs, wiki's or podcasting.

And it's quickly changing the fundamentals of how content is delivered by publishers and consumed by end users.

Why? Quite simply, it enables uses to easily subscribe to, and then simultaneously read or track changing content on more sites or blogs than was ever previously possible. Anotherwords, instead of having to check a site or blog to see if there's anything new posted, RSS notifies you when there's new content. If you frequent 1 or 2 sites, this isn't a big deal, but with RSS you can easily subscribe to 10-15 or even 25 sites or blogs and realistically read them all.

Conversely, RSS enables content publishers to distribute their content via infinite channels well beyond the single website or blog in which the content resides. Again, rather than try and get all users to visit your site or blog in order to consume your content, you can get your content infront of many more eyeballs than only those that might visit your site or blog.

So let's take a look at how this is playing out in the real world.

Just about every website or blog in the internet space (e.g., outside the firewall) is publishing their content using RSS these days (RSS feeds are being used far less on intranets, where changes to corporate IT infrastructure is deployed far slower than that on external customer facing sites).

And to subscribe to all these RSS feeds, there are a plethoia of free RSS readers available. My favorites are www.newsgator.com, www.pluck.com, and www.feedster.com. Google "Free RSS reader" and take your pick.

So let's take a look at how RSS works within the realm of an intranet or employee portal.

Most obvious, departments publish content using RSS. This enables employees to subscribe to content they are interested in, increasing the likelihood that content will be read when it's new or has changed (employee's don't have time, nor tendency to regularly check multiple intranet site any more so than people check external websites to see if there's anything new that interests them).

Conversely, organizations that deploy RSS readers for internal content enable employees to create their own personal news or content update site to keep track of changing information that's relevant or interesting to them. This is the true definition of a "My Site."

Some basic areas where RSS is perfect include employee communications and internal news, HR communications and benefits updates (helpful for annual enrollment information, year end and new year changes), facilities information (very timely in the NY area with the current transit strike affecting business operating hours), management communications, and sales force related content (product updates, customer data, etc.).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on! What took you so long?

regina said...

Wecome to the blogosphere. Looking forward to your blog and thoughts, ideas and opinions. Are you going to the RSS Summit 2006?