Real simple syndication, better known as RSS, is moving from weblogs to the Fortune 500. The technology, designed to let users subscribe to blog newsfeeds, is being co-opted by corporations to keep employees and customers informed -- alerting systems administrators when a server goes down, for instance, or sending lists of recent credit card purchases to a customer's Treo.
The simplicity appeals to companies because monitoring data takes too much time and e-mail updates clog inboxes. RSS, on the other hand, can issue customizable alerts more quickly than e-mail. "RSS will be adapted by corporations really fast," predicts Ray Valdez, an analyst at the Gartner Group. Startups are already eyeing the nascent market. Ottawa-based Serence has clients ranging from FindSavings.com, which alerts shoppers about new coupons, to a law firm that's using RSS to monitor patents. Big companies, too, are getting into the game. Computer Associates's (CA) Security Advisor RSS service provides updates on the latest viruses and worms to corporate IT departments. Real simple, indeed.