Many people seem to think that Enterprise 2.0 is about blogs and wikis. There are many other technologies supporting the shift to more collaborative and productive organizations. One of the most important of these, and one which perhaps does more to change the role of IT in the enterprise, is mashups.
In out Web 2.0 Framework, we define mashups as a “combination of different types of content or data, usually from different sources, to create something new.”
In a consumer web situation, this involves taking content from different online sources, often merging all sorts of data with locations, using a mapping application such as Google Maps. In the enterprise, it often brings together enterprise data (sales, market research, transactions etc. etc.) with information off the public web, though it can also integrate information from different sources within the organization.
The most important implication of this is that it gives power to the end-user. The IT department no longer needs to be asked on bended knee to create applications that will be useful for the company. Staff can quickly and easily do it for themselves. In effect users can become programmers, as I’ve spoken about in previous keynotes on Enterprise 2.0.
Mashup tools began with Yahoo! Pipes, which gives an easy interface to manipulate data. Microsoft’s initiative Popfly was launched last year, trying to make it as easy as possible for consumers to create mashups. A New York Times article today discusses how Popfly seems to be shifting Microsoft to becoming a web company, though there is no evidence that it is considered internally as anything more than another R&D initiative. IBM’s QEDWiki tool, specifically for enterprise mashups, is already getting traction inside organizatons. More recently IBM has announced Lotus Mashups, a powerful enterprise application.
For more information on Enterprise Mashups, see Dion Hinchcliffe’s article on Enterprise Mashups get ready for prime-time, including a review of QEDWiki. One of the best resources and reference points is the Enterprise Mashups series of events run by John Maloney. His most recent, held in New York City, was notable through its great cast of sponsors and speakers, showing the depth and breadth of activity in the space. Colabria, the organizer of the event, is also running a research project on enterprise mashups.
Enterprise Mashups will also be an important theme covered at the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum on 19 February.