I was introduced to Bloglines a few weeks ago and within hours of using it had one of those "a-ha!" experiences. While I never paid attention to all the talk of "newsreaders" or "RSS" before and thought these technologies were for the ultra-geeks (I would be only a major geek) - the ability to read all of my frequently visited sites easily and quickly in one browser was as user friendly as iTunes or even email. Browsing websites has now changed for me. I let many of my frequently visited sites now come to me and only show me the new stories. A huge benefit and time saver.
But that wasn't my only immediate "a-ha!". Having spent the last +15 years in the corporate finance world, it's hard to imagine that we still live in an Excel world. Whereas almost every other technology has evolved since 1990, the vast majority of financial data reporting for small-midsize businesses and many small cap public companies is still based on a multi-step data extraction, organization, and presentating a final report with Excel. I can tell you from first hand experience that Excel is a very substandard tool for presenting important data in a timely and consistently accurate way. Quick, quality decisions therefore suffer unnecessarily. And yet it's the middle of 2005 and those of us without access to a $1M data warehouse software package are still relegated to using a souped up 2 dimensional calculator.
RSS - or Really Simply Syndication - is an acronym created by the media types who invented it. It just as easily could be called RSDD (Really Simple Data Distribution). As long as you have a standard set of inputs (data instead of webpages), there's no reason why someone can't create the same type of Bloglines "DashBoard" for the business. We should be able to track the CEO's top 10 metrics out of the database. We should be able to give the VP of Marketing the real-time product sales increase within minutes after the email newsletter is sent. When these key metrics change, the DashBoard automatically signals the executive to take a look. Real-time, actionableinformation from complex transactional databases. RSS for the Enterprise is the holy grail and one that will carry and create tremendous market value.
A few links I've found on the subject now that I've started searching for who else has this idea: