January 17, 2009

Incredibly, enterprise RSS is dead!

My first, flippant thought : Enterprises just take forever to adopt stuff ... give it another 10 years or so.

But that's not really true. I'd suspect that the real issue is this. Enterprises are a life-form with a certain kind of structure, held together by specific forces. Like a single-cell organism, puncture the membrane and it dies as its resources just drain away.

And RSS is rather like a nano-needle.

We *imagined* that social-software would burst the enterprise. Instead, the enterprise resolutely rejects it. No senior manager (who has a certain amount of "between-ness centrality") wants to legitimize the automated software streams that would route around him (or her), bypass the company's official PR outputs, bypass the company's official sales department's inputs.

RSS is an example, but the same is true of blogs, wikis and other social software that threatens the corporate structure. Hell! If you're in a Windows shop you don't even get a web-server on the corporate intranet as standard. If there had been demand from corporate clients, Outlook could have been a web and RSS and a wiki server (out-of-the-box) to allow colleagues to co-operate more effectively. It isn't. Because M$ didn't want to piss off IT departments by taking away their control of the corporate servers.

You may think that new, RSS powered upstarts will come along and defeat the dinosaurs who reject social software.

But maybe the fluidity, interpenatrability of such social companies will prevent them ever growing large. Maybe there'll remain a sea of small companies whose boundaries are too malleable to congeal into the next generation of dinosaurs. The sea will get bigger, and the dinosaurs will dissolve. But RSS will never be "the next big thing"


zby said...

As and example of Publish Subscribe RSS is functionally equivalent of Email Lists, the only difference is the integration with WWW. In side the Enterprise WWW is not that important - so everyone is just using email.

Composing said...

Yeah. Except for the obvious inefficiencies of email (in the way that it's used, even if the underlying protocols might support something better)

Email used to be unpopular and eventually won through, but I have a hunch (conspiracy theory, maybe) that corporations welcome the inefficiencies and frictions of email.

Kingsley Idehen said...

RSS provides any network (public Internet or private intranet) with the ability to disseminate data/information/knowledge via pub/sub mechanism.

So blog, wikis, bookmarks, discussion threads etc.. can all be disseminated to relevant part of the enterprise via RSS (or Atom).

Where RSS can be most powerful is when it transports URIs that are de-referencable to negotiated representations of a domain specific object in the enterprise. Simple example, all the information about a customer, order, support case, or combination of these items.

The next wave of the Web, Linked Data (Hyperdata Links), will naturally benefit from RSS/Atom as propagation mechanism for intelligent data/information/knowledge dissemination across the enterprise.

Additional Info:
1. http://dbpedia.org/resource/Linked_Data
2. http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
3. http://twitter.com/kidehen (lots of demo links re. Linked Data)

Dwayne King said...

RSS has an identity crisis. I see being an "RSS company" being a bit like saying you were an "XML Company" around 2000, or being in the construction business and telling people you're a "hammering company." RSS is a tool, for that matter it's a tool that works, so it's not going away any time soon. I think what you'll see is RSS companies transform their message to talk about what they do and enable, not what tool they use. We're always being told to focus on the benefit, not the feature...Let's face it, RSS isn't even a feature.