More on enterprise mashups

Following my last post on enterprise mash-ups where I looked at some of the companies integrating enterprise apps to automate business processes, I was thinking a bit more and doing a bit of Googling and came across a few more companies of interest.

You may recall I highlighted Blue Prism, Openspan, Seagull and Jacada as using mashup type integration to automate business processes.

But my traditional view of composite apps was that they were more about data aggregation, a sort of Google Mashup Editor creating a Google Home Page for enterprise data, allowing users (or user roles) to access and manipulate a personalised set of data sources relevant to the needs of their job.

Weaving in my last post on IBM’s view of the links between SOA and BPM where the business side of the enterprise is seen as people, processes and information, perhaps the different types of mashup tools are defined by how they link those three elements.  So if Blue Prism et al primarily extract data and turn this into information to execute business processes without human intervention, here are a few companies that seem to be good at turning data into information for human beings via the UI.

Serendipity has a product called WorkLight™ which is described as “a server-based software product that provides employees with customized and personalized “Web 2.0-style” access to corporate data that reside in enterprise applications.”  It looks like an early product that is fast evolving.  Data is sourced via “a number of application adapters out of the box” which at first read I imagined were calls to native APIs or specific proprietary adapters but I think at the moment there is probably a very restricted range with the opportunity to build your own adaptors and to use SQL and web services adapters.  Surprisingly (to me) for an enterprise product it only runs in a Linux/Java environment but a Windows app is promised soon.

Although an early stage product, Serendipity are well backed and I predict the product will evolve quickly.  Serendipity has filled inevitable early product holes by offering the ability to develop your own interfaces to corporate applications.  I suspect these “holes” will quickly get filled with off-the-shelf or code-free interfaces, whilst the addition of the Windows compatibility will make the offering much more attractive to the enterprise.  Their recently announced partnership with Teqlo  is evidence that bringing consumer web technologies into the enterprise is not just possible – it’s happening.

Finally, I love their recognition that the word “data” is plural.  Something I regularly (and wrongly) ignore – even in this post.

JackBe has a product suite named Presto which “leverages Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies like Ajax and SOA for enterprise-class solutions for user-driven mashups, collaboration, and SOA virtualization”.

JackBe describe the “User as the killer app”.  Presto looks more advanced as a product than Worklight and the website is much more informative with thought leading opinion and links to useful external resources.  The use of Ajax to improve the user interaction sounds great but I wonder if there are enough enterprises with sufficient SOA rollout to provide the complete set of data sources required.  Presto looks pretty heavyweight enterprise stuff and is much more than a tactical mashup tool.  It does look an interesting proposition as the “last mile” of a SOA.

Teqlo commands immediate respect because of the (until recently) involvement of Jeff Nolan.  Teqlo appears to be positioning itself as the glue holding Web 2.0 together, or maybe it’s the oil keeping the wheels of Web 2.0 turning.  Anyway to prevent me once again rowing across to analogy island, let’s say it’s a web services mashup tool that appears at first glance not to be very enterprisey – but dig a little deeper and partnerships with the likes of Serendipity (see above) and Cogenz says that it is and will be.  I much admire their objective of  “giving non-technical users the capability to create mashup applications that help them get things done without knowing anything about APIs, coding, and scripting”.  I think this is the future – a new generation of programming languages that empower business users, albeit to the frustration of some techies who will much prefer their own ways of doing things.

In contrast to Teqlo, Zogix starts right off by introducing itself as an “enterprise solutions business”.  Zogix “supports an Enterprises’ Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) providing an API allowing enterprise applications, data sources and external web applications to be exposed as widgets”.   This looks very much an SOA aligned enterprise class mash-up tool.

The website looks very new and there are imaginative marketing people at work.  Expect to see their professional advisers and cleaners nominated on the partner page soon.

However, the product looks really interesting – a sort of widget based personal mashup tool for the enterprise.  More power to the users and competing for JackBe’s “last mile of SOA”.  Good to see a British company at the forefront of a trend for once.

Let’s hope there is sufficient SOA rollout in the enterprise to make these types of tool a success.

One Response to “More on enterprise mashups”

  1. WorkForceInABox.com » Blog Archive » “New” mashup platforms taking over the enterprise? Not yet. Says:

    […] Dion Hinchcliffe at ZDNet has looked at the enterprise mashup space in much more depth than I did a couple of months […]

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