May 5 2005

Factiva says ‘yes’ to RSS

Yesterday Factiva and Newsgator announced a deal that will allow Factiva customers to access their Factiva content via RSS (specifically through Newsgator’s Outlook reader and on-line system). This is a great milestone in the development and adoption of RSS – here’s my take on the deal: First, for those of you who are not familiar with Factiva, it’s a joint venture between Reuters and Dow Jones that provides their users with customizable content (from news articles to D&B reports to other types of company profiles). The idea is to allow their customers to stay up to date on news that is relevant to their business (customers, competitors, etc.). The deal with Newsgator marries specialized and proprietary content (Factiva) with a distribution platform (Newsgator) and is an example of where I think corporations are moving in how they consume information. Interestingly, the partnership came about in part because Factiva CEO Clare Hart was a user of Newsgator (and had been for quite some time) and she quickly recognized its power as a way to distribute information.

The idea is really simple. Factiva recognized two important things: 1) many information workers want the collection of important data integrated into their existing workflow (i.e., not in a separate application) and 2) these workers also want a single point of access for multiple data sources. By integrating Factiva “feeds” into the Newsgator platform they are addressing both of these concerns – driving adoption and usage in their existing customers and expanding their potential pool of users.

However, this is only the first step in the new model of information workflow. Imagine this idea applied to internal data. I’m using RSS, for example, to track changes on an internal Wiki for one of my companies – obviating the need for me to check in to the Wiki site to see if anything new has been posted and saving me quite a bit of time in the process. You could also imagine RSS feeds coming from a CRM system to alert account managers to problems that one of their major accounts is experiencing. You could also see this tied to a SFA system to automatically generate search feeds for a sales person’s key contacts and allowing them to easily keep up with news on their prospect. In every case delivering this information directly to the workspace (Outlook, most likely, but also to a desktop client or web based client if desired) of the worker that needs to know about these changes. This is jus the tip of the iceberg . . . watch for more from Newsgator as they lead the charge to make information easily available.