Attensa have published a white paper describing A Framework for Reducing Information Overload in the Enteprise, which is an interesting way for them to position their offerings.
I like the thoughts about how indiscriminate consumption ends up bringing too much information. The price paid is divided attention - and lower quality work output. When I decide to take in more and more stuff, it's a guarantee that I'll have less time or attention to devote to any one "piece" of information. And therefore, quite likely the quality of decisions and thinking I partake in will drop. On the other hand, as Clay Shirky has said, it isn't information overload, it is a problem of filter failure.
I spoke to Attensa today (CEO, Charlie Davidson; CTO, Jeff Nadler, and Director of Marketing, Mark Everetz) about information overload, knowledge management, selling technology solutions, the job of knowledge workers, the role of collaboration in organizations, and how their product fits in and around these elements.
There are many perspectives on these topics, but my take lately is that knowledge management is all about helping people get things done. This involves a range of activities, from opening up lines of communication and collaboration; to storing and finding information and the people who created it. And beyond.
One of the things people do in the context of their organizations is make sense of all the information that comes their way. It's part of the job of the knowledge work, as Craig Roth has said. This is a big area where filters and other people help considerably. It's also an area where we must find the ways of working that make sense for us, given our culture and tools and history. While individuals can find good uses alone, these tools can either multiply those efforts or cut them to pieces, depending no how they are used to support collaboration needs in our organizations. I've argued many times that we need to work together to decide how to make best use of our tools, whether that is email or larger collaboration platforms.
Attensa play in the support-of-work world, rather than being directly a "collaboration platform." They have a tool that helps people create filters and alerts across multiple repositories of information, both internal and proprietary as well as those available publicly on the web. And they have a larger vision around being able to more seamlessly connect from things to people to topics and back again. This is a familiar idea - I remember the now-defunct Entopia talking about similar things ten years ago.
By the way, Attensa used to sell (give away) an RSS reader / aggregator. They don't do that anymore, having changed their business model several years ago to focus on filtering and aggregating within the enterprise.