Companies tap RSS to tame info overload

RSS stories can be more precise and effective than email

At the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) division in Scotland, the IT department has significantly cut down on e-mail overload with a NewsGator enterprise RSS system, said David Rendall, a computer programmer involved in the project.

At NHS Orkney, few of the 600 or so users -- mostly doctors, nurses, physical therapists and business administrators -- are technically savvy. So, Rendall has reached out to departments and held frequent training sessions to promote the RSS system's use.

"The biggest challenge is helping people make the switch and get their heads around the new RSS paradigm," Rendall said.

This user indifference and ignorance, coupled with e-mail familiarity, is a common barrier to RSS adoption in workplaces, according to Forrester's Young.

"While most people have a love-hate relationship with e-mail, it's easy to use and very convenient to [copy] your entire office to make sure you get everyone involved," Young said.

This is why Young recommends starting RSS deployments within specific groups in an organization and with the purpose of improving a specific communication issue.

"Where I see most enterprise RSS solutions starting to fall down is when you're trying to encourage or bring a whole host of workers along all at once," Young said.

In addition to reducing e-mail, enterprise RSS systems often boost organizations' use of intranets, blogs and wikis by alerting employees to changes and additions, Young said.

At NHS Orkney, the NewsGator system lets employees subscribe to feeds from the organization's blogs and wikis, thus increasing their readership and boosting collaboration and communication, Rendall said.

Meanwhile, Union Bank trusts RSS will improve its intranet, currently being redesigned. "There are many applications for which we could use the intranet as a repository, and leverage RSS for distribution and change alerts," Penn said.

Specifically, RSS could help with notifying Union Bank employees about modifications to policies and procedures. This is key for banks, which are highly regulated by the government.

"Often a little nuance of a policy will change, and while not applicable to 90 percent of the employees, it's crucial for the 10 percent who need to know," he said.

Not to be overlooked is the ability of enterprise RSS systems to give managers a clear view into how popular blogs, wikis, external sites and intranet sections are with employees, Young said.

"Because it's all coming into one central location, you can do very advanced analytics on who is reading what," Young said.

For example, if half of the sales team subscribes to one specific journal's feed, it might make sense to suggest the feed to the other half. "It really helps information spread more quickly and best practices to proliferate across the enterprise," he said.

Likewise, it makes it easy to spot skunks. "If your CEO's blog has no one reading it, you know pretty quickly there's a problem there," Young said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?