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Friday, 13 March 2009

Enterprise Mashup as a Capability

Why do we need Enterprise Mashups as a capability of IT? As Dion Hinchcliffe explains in this post, there is a lot unmet software demand due to small projects not being economically viable:
... almost any IT system is going cost in the hundreds of thousands or low millions even to get off the ground. This means that many smaller, niche demands, which statistically, are very likely to be larger than the demand for big IT systems in an organization (The Long Tail), are actually continuing to go dramatically underserved ...
As he further explains, Enterprise Mashups are in a perfect position to enable the business to fulfill this demand. What is not talked about, are the different deployment options of these mashups. Depending on the context of the functionality it delivers and the type of user it delivers it to, the deployment pattern of the mashup should change. For an "ad-hoc" pattern, you might want to deploy the mashup as a gadget on the desktop. For a "project" pattern you will want to deploy it inside a project portal, while for a "process" pattern you will want the mashup to be deployed as an extension to an Enterprise Application.

Choosing the wrong deployment pattern of a Enterprise Mashup could restrict its benefit and in some case dramatically increase the number of applications on the desktop. Especially when deploying an "ad-hoc" pattern where a "process" pattern would have been more appropriate, the user will suddenly need to become aware of what mashup are relevant to which task and where to find it. He or she will have to copy data to and from an Enterprise Application and mashups. The ultimate swivel chair nightmare!

So what does it mean to extend Enterprise Applications with mashup capabilities? It means facilitating the embedding of mashups inside these applications so that the business is able to add functionality to them for their specific "long tail" needs, e.g. extending a CRM application with a Network Diagnostics Mashup for the customer's region to enable the agent to anticipate and analyse possible causes of connectivity problems. By providing this capability the short lived, specific requirements of a business division can become part of the same application that is serving the long term requirements of an entire enterprise. But this time, it can deliver this to a specific user groups and for a specific process only, without requiring changes to the underlying application. This is what we at Corizon call "Integration without Customisation".

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