Sometimes its easier to describe something by explaining what it is like. It occurred to me that an Enterprise RSS system is a bit like having your own Feedburner running inside the firewall. Lets think about what Feedburner does for blogs:
- Publicize – Create awareness for your feed, make it sing and dance
- Optimize – Ensure your feed displays correctly, manage traffic spikes
- Analyze – Track and monitor usage patterns, trends, etc.
- Monetize – Kick your content off the couch and put it to work
Now, what does that mean inside the firewall? “Monetize” is probably less relevant, but the other features are something you want inside the firewall. End-users, who produce RSS content or own systems that automatically generate RSS, will value the ability to publicize and analyze their feeds, while IT departments will appreciate the benefits of optimization (and this will flow on to end-users too). For example, I’ve used Yahoo! Pipes in combination with Feedburner, where without Feedburner‘s caching of the feed the native output of the complex Pipe I built would time out.
Of course the one important thing Feedburner doesn’t do is provide users with tools to actually consume feeds, but the marketplace for tools, software and services on the Web is a different world from enterprise computing network. An Enterprise RSS system on the other hand is likely to include a suite of clients that is designed to fit with other enterprise tools already in use – for example, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Blackberry, etc.
In addition to the syndication services provided by Feedburner, an Enterprise RSS system is also likely to provide other enterprise-centric services such as secure feeds, protection from script-based malware and integration with enterprise authentications systems. Broadly speaking these enterprise specific features would still fit into Feedburner‘s benefits model, however we might get away with replacing “Monetize” with “Securetize”. An Enterprise RSS system might also provide services that help end-users to create feeds from existing systems (i.e. RSS’ify them) or mashup feeds and data to create new feeds. In other words, a bit like Yahoo! Pipes… so my Feedburner inspired model for the benefits of Enterprise RSS becomes:
BTW For more on what comprises an Enterprise RSS system, see the Enterprise RSS Solutions page on the Enterprise RSS Day of Action wiki.