Aggregator as hub.
Intranet aggregators. I spent most of the week visiting small and large companies. The more I talk with "real people working in real companies" (meaning: not nerds spending their whole days hacking), the more convinced I am that a news aggregator is the ideal center for any Intranet.
The basic idea is merge to the same server contents coming from:
- internal sources (accounting, trouble ticketing, exiting document management applications, other data bases: we should be able to get a feed from any internal app)
- k-logs (every member of the group has one)
- external news sources (general news, weblogs, specialized sources, scraped pages)
The output of the aggregator should be both html that people can browser with their browser and more feeds which could end up in personal aggregators or funneled in other applications.
Centralized aggregators should not necessarily mean that every user has to read all feeds. There should be both the kind of personalization allowed by personal aggregators (deciding which feeds to subscribe to) but also added vaue services that would allow users to discover additional sources of information and anyway give different relevance to different kind of information snippets that are displayed on the page.
Paolo has put it succinctly. The aggregator becomes the organisational hub gathering information from all sources and using personalisation and intelligence to filter & recombine information in useful ways before presenting it either as views or as feeds for other consumers.
[Curiouser and curiouser!]
I think that the Matt/Paolo team are onto something here. Email is now the bane of corporate life. I read the other day that many folks spend 4 hours a day on email. What is great about an aggregator is that its puts you in control of what you see and it speeds up skimming to weed out trash