The Potential for Bandwidth

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2007-01-16 Print this article Print

Bottlenecks with RSS"> "Our marketing people really liked it," said Gratsch, who is intent on expanding the use of RSS at the firm to right the wrongs of e-mail.

"Universal e-mail got abused. Eight hundred users, from paralegals to lawyers to marketing people, were using universal e-mail. People got upset because everything was getting dumped into their in-box," said Gratsch, who is fond of NewsGators integration with Microsoft Outlook as well as its ability to be centrally managed—key selling points for enterprise RSS implementations.

Executive search company Spencer Stuart is using NewsGator Enterprise Server to keep its search professionals current in the consumer goods, technology, media and financial services industries, among others. Each of these fields must be monitored for executive movements, consolidations and mergers.

"Were trying to bring the strength of RSS to our users. Before, you had to make an active attempt to visit sites to check and see if things have changed. A user without RSS might have a list of bookmarks. But with RSS, you dont have to actively pursue that information; its delivered to you if it changes. Instead of having to do continuous checking, you can have RSS feeds," said Trapper Markelz, senior manager at Spencer Stuart, in Chicago.

"Its about knowing the [industry] space and the possible candidates. When youre working in the financial services industry and two banks merge, you need to be educated about that, and you need to know the top 50 CMOs [chief marketing officers] and CFOs [chief financial officers] in the financial services industry," said Markelz, who has implemented NewsGator Enterprise Server software to monitor various industry sources and republish that information for Spencer Stuarts specialists.

Spencer Stuart took part in beta testing for NewsGator to assist the company in tying its software to Microsofts Active Directory. Agreeing with Gratsch, Markelz said he believes NewsGators administration tools are critical in an enterprise environment. "The administration tools are great. They integrate with Active Directory. You can add people by groups. You can also see who is getting the most feeds," said Markelz.

Although 2007 is shaping up to be a big year for the spread of RSS in the enterprise, there are several gotchas that could snag IT pros and the companies they serve. For example, without taking precautions, some RSS implementations could cause a spike in network traffic, creating bandwidth bottlenecks.

"Its a great technology, but a lot of people underestimate the amount of bandwidth it needs," said Bruce Elgort, co-founder of, an open-source community for IBMs Lotus Notes and Domino developers, in Vancover, Wash. That could be a problem for companies that serve up content to the public.

"IT departments should be very careful, especially if they are reaching a huge market and it could add millions of hits to their Web server," Elgort added. He said companies that count page hits need to be aware that the number of page hits their content generates will decrease while the number of RSS feeds served up will increase.

P&Gs Hill found implementing RSS consistently across different e-mail systems to be problematic. "The challenges of RSS in a mixed environment are fairly large," said Hill, whose environment includes both Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. He said he is working on ways to implement secure single sign-on for his users. One problem: Microsoft SharePoint Server and Outlook dont support authentication in RSS for client systems.

Click here to read about security issues with RSS. These obstacles aside, the momentum behind RSS growth appears strong. Forresters Young said that RSS enablement is becoming popular for mainstream applications. For example, Spanning Partners Spanning Salesforce 3.0 is a tool that lets send out information about new leads and contacts to salespeople via an RSS reader. Such capabilities are particularly attractive as companies add support for users on the road. For example, NewsGator Go For Windows Mobile formats RSS feeds to be read by mobile devices.

Further, Young said he anticipates the use of applications that will talk to each other via RSS feeds. "Were going to see enterprise applications that are RSS-enabled that will communicate with each other through XML," he said. For example, a supply chain management application could send alerts about product availability to a sales force management application, Young said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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