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Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mashup solution patterns

Enterprise mashups transform the way organisations combine IT applications to make people and processes more effective. However, in common with most new ideas, if they remain an abstract concept, or if people form preconceptions based on isolated examples (such as the ubiquitous map based mashup), then those who stand to benefit most may find it hard to get a feel for their power or relevance. In my experience, the missing link is a set of examples or usage patterns that make these possibilities concrete.

Gartner have taken a step in this direction by setting out “Five Mashup Application Types”:
  1. Personal dashboards – allowing individual users to choose the gadgets they need
  2. Packaged application extension – providing a flexible alternative to application customisation
  3. Location awareness – allowing spatial distribution of data and assets to be visualized and explored
  4. Panoramic awareness – bringing together a single view of an “object” of interest from different sources (such as a customer, competitor or place).
  5. Situational awareness – allowing events and data relevant to a “situation”, to be tracked and responded to.
While these are helpful (and Corizon supports all these categories, most frequently being used in categories 2 and 4) – they don’t go far enough to bring real-life use cases to life. Likewise, the patterns recently set out by Michale Ogrinz offer a great set of possibilities – but almost too many and slanted towards the developer.

Specific examples of how the mashup can be deployed to increase user productivity in the context of known integration and development challenges are required to bring the potential of mashups to life for both the line of business and IT.

As a result we have developed some key deployment patterns that we see again and again. We find that these (1) really help to explain how enterprise mashups deliver fast payback in familiar situations and (2) get over what you can do with a mashup platform that creates streamlined process based applications (vs one that is focused on combining data and creating dashboards and would not be suitable for these patterns).

Here are some examples – let us know what you think and what else can be added:

New web application: Rapidly build and easily change “standalone mashup” that combines enterprise applications and services to deliver new streamlined, process-based application

"Integration without customization" Embed mashups to extend packaged enterprise applications – on premise or SAAS – with new, integrated user activities. Avoids delays, overhead and upgrade problems of customisation.

Extend legacy application UI. Rapid, reusable alternative to trying to change unsupported or end of life applications to support integrated user activities.

Extending interaction management and CTI applications Create interaction based desktops for call centre agents that streamline and simplify customer service processes.

Self service expansion. Expand scope of self service portals for employees, customers and partners with integrated, process-based applications.

Support interactive activities in BPMS solutions: Add streamlined, integrated UI to support and simplify human steps in long running business processes.

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