Enterprise mashups aren’t as happening as consumer mashups, as we’ve discussed here once before. This is primarily because enterprise mashups aren’t as easy to create compared to their consumer counterparts.
One reason is that the most popular mashups today are browser-based. This means that querying different data sources, filtering and combining of data and rendering it in a proper format is all done within the confines of the browser. However, this cannot be the case in an enterprise, where data is quite heterogeneous – it resides in different formats, in different places, with different access limits. This is where server-based mashups come into the picture.
Mashup servers can deal with disparate data sources and even allow users to mashup sources without understanding the differences between the various data formats. A mashup server can also provide a visual drag-and-drop interface for easy creation of mashups and allow users to share mashups through pre-built, server managed interfaces via everyday tools like spreadsheets, email and portals.
Most importantly, a mashup server can safely store authentication and authorization information and be connected to an enterprise’s own authentication and monitoring toolsets. However, setting up the mashup server, feeding it with formal services and connecting it to security, governance and connection tools calls for the involvement of IT personnel, without which the enterprise mashup space cannot make much progress.
Faster and better access to external and internal data sources, reuse of existing resources and newer ways to use information are some of the advantages of mashups without costly investments and middlemen. Another big advantage that mashups can bring about is to complement SOA, if it is being implemented across an enterprise and to very quickly and visually represent the ROI of SOA to end-users.