Got RSS?

Well, we did, just last week. With the implementation of our Enterprise RSS solution, we have provided all Intel employees with a web based reader for RSS content, which will soon be integrated with the intranet portal. Cool features include ability to subscribe content from unspecified sources based on key words, ability to share feeds with team members (no more forwarding hyperlinks over email!) and a really easy way to tag and categorize by topics.

To be honest, the decision to implement this solution wasn't easy. Instinctively, having an enterprise RSS capability (vs. standalone tools, or using email) felt like a good idea, because it promised to extend our social computing platform to the area of information sharing. Also, it offered the opportunity to reduce information overload -- with an enterprise RSS capability, employees will no longer be bombarded with long newsletters covering every topic under the sun. They can pick and choose what they want to read, without having to sift through a pile. However, an environmental scan revealed that there were more naysayers than advocates. (Just search for "R.I.P Enterprise RSS" to see what I mean). There were very few success stories and even fewer case studies of successful implementations in large corporations such as ours. Why then did we go for it?

Short answer - We believe that the single biggest barrier to adoption is the lack of a holistic corporate communication strategy. Few intranets are content-rich, fewer still are RSS friendly. Employee communications, in most organizations, still happens through one-way download using legacy tools and methods -- lengthy newsletters, email blasts and crowded intranet homepages. An enterprise RSS reader offers a paradigm shift in this area. It offers the ability to publish content without the readers even being aware that the information they are viewing comes from a different back-end feeds. Readers can apply their own filters and pull only the content that they are interested in. The value is immense, but it calls for big changes in the way corporations communicate. Sadly, we didn't see this recognized by any of the analysts who had written this product category off.

So we decided to take the plunge (Remember, Risk-taking is a cherished Intel Value!), and went live with the solution last week. There is a lot of work to be done in re-designing our communication model. Good news is that our corporate communication team is among the strongest believers in this capability - they get it, and are eager to put the technology to good use. If we succeed, we will have cracked the solution to the problem of information overload - so watch this space for a white paper. If we don't, we will still share what we learn -- and keep looking for the right answer 🙂