Last week I was invited to speak to 30 or so folks across several groups at Microsoft about RSS and what we are learning about its introduction and usage in the enterprise. I spoke for about 40 minutes and how our perspective at Attensa is assuredly different than our contemporaries in that "attention" (real attention) is central to our technology and our value proposition. I did however focus mostly on our observations as they related to our customer's interest in our deep work with attention, recommendation, analytics, and more as it relates strictly to business use. It is resonating, we are never first into an account but so far winning every one in head to head comparisons. And it's because of 1) our clear vision and 2) we are focused on business solutions (as opposed to consumer readers, private label, content offerings, or other media-based plays.)
I took several questions and then several of us went off for a long lunch and continued...Some at Microsoft (and elsewhere) at first believe we are or will be competitive with Microsoft. Attensa is not and will never be competitive with Microsoft. They (and some of our competitors) are focused on the handling of the basic plumbing of RSS, and simple synchronization across locations including consumer level web-based RSS readers. Well, that is not Attensa. We have to do some of this now of course for our solutions to work but long term we are delighted to let MSFT, Apple, or whomever take care of the plumbing. By the way our Attensa for Outlook 1.5 (now in public beta) syncs with the new MSFT RSS stuff. That said, and given how many businesses are only now rolling out Office 2003, I have a feeling we and others will have to do some of this basic plumbing for a long time to satisfy enterprise wide RFPs for our solutions even with strong adoption of Vista, IE7, and Office 2007...I'll call it VIO.
I have been thinking about this a lot, this whole VIO thing as it relates to RSS - and of course our business. I shared some of my thoughts with folks at this meeting. They may seem obvious to some but from the looks on people's faces in the room, perhaps not. A few things are very clear to me as I write this in late August 2006.
- VIO is going to make RSS HUGE...because right now it isn't. Adoption is very, very small.
- VIO will force IT to redeploy new hardware (client and server) and RSS will be standard issue
- RSS for getting news feeds and blog updates is minuscule...business has bigger fish to fry
- This of course leads to information overload like IT has never experienced as RSS is used for competitive intelligence, for internal blogs/wikis/collaboration, and by enterprise applications
Yes thousands of items per day via hundreds of feeds. This will dwarf email volume and rest assured it is already happening in the more technically progressive companies. What was eye opening to me was that many at Microsoft seemingly have no idea the impact RSS embedded in their next wave of offerings will have. The way I look at it is that millions of business users will cut their own throats with RSS unless their forward looking IT departments realize that their Exchange servers will not be enough to handle their users individual or collective use of RSS. NO wonder some of the biggest companies in the world are already testing out our stuff...some of them see this RSS tidal wave coming. RSS is still for geeks now, but in business it will again transform the enterprise just as significantly as email has over the past twenty years.