The last few days I have been doing a lot of thinking around Enterprise Mashups, what they are and what they are good for. A problem that I have keept running into is to explain mashups to business users and system architects stuck in a SOA and integration world. It is not easy making mashups sound like anything else than a Google Map hype, but now I have come up with some methaphores that might do the trick
Excel is today arguably one of the most popular programs inside Enterprises, and the question is why this is. I think it is because:
- It allows business users to look at data they way they want to
- It gives business users the powerful ability to build mini-applications as needed without support from a central IT-department. What I mean by mini-apps here are everything from a set of advanced formulas to Visual Basic code.
At the same time integration and SOA is extremely important for Enterprises because:
- It allows sharing data between systems which increases the overall value of that data
- Together several systems can solve more problems than the systems can individually (the sum is bigger than the parts)
The great thing with Mashups is that it combines all these advantages. It allows users build their mini-applications (“opportunistic applications” or “situational applications”) to automate manual procedures in order to look and work with data in the way they want. Mashups and the light-weight technology it is bsed on (REST, AJAX, RSS, Atom etc) also makes it easy to make systems integrate with each other.
Mashups are not a silver bullet that solves all problems, but it has huge potential to put more power into the hands of business user which in turn makes them more productive.