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Mashups are poised for a business outbreak



Jeff Feinman
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May 14, 2009 —  (Page 1 of 3)
It started slowly. First, one person in Mexico got sick. Then another. Then more. The culprit? A strain of influenza commonly known as swine flu. But before it was identified, folks returning from that country were unwittingly bringing the deadly flu back to their homelands.

As fear of a pandemic grew, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) needed to get a handle on outbreaks of the H1N1 virus. One of the tools of their disposal was a software mashup, created by IBM, that brings together the CDC’s reporting data with Google Maps.

“The mashup could see where the outbreaks are in different regions of the country,” said Rod Smith, vice president of IBM’s emerging Internet technologies unit. “A business can now share that mashup with its stores and regions so they can see what’s going on with it, and the CDC can share it with state services, maybe to see what other health facilities or health products are out there.”

When mashups first picked up steam as a mainstream technology, they were essentially a neat way to squeeze together two different pieces of data into one entity. For instance, information about an outdoor music festival could be mashed with a weather application, or Google Maps could be combined with customer data from Salesforce.com, so a sales rep could look at the account and see a map of how to get to the client.

Along the way, certain software companies got involved in the mashup game and boasted enterprise mashups, which focus more on helping businesses try to accomplish tasks at a faster pace. Businesses can use them for IT issues, production environment change tracking, auditing and various other recurring business processes.

The question, though, is have mashups actually been adopted on the enterprise-level on a wide scale, or are they still just a neat technology to tinker with?

Mashups have gone “from cool to useful,” said John Crupi, CTO of enterprise mashup software provider JackBe. It took some time for business users to realize the value in viewing data from multiple sources in one place, and to see mashups as something more than eye candy.



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Comments


05/28/2009 10:35:14 PM EST

A very relevant and important topic for businesses to watch. For people interesting in learning more, may I humbly suggest my book, Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise published last month by Addison Wesley. It presents 34 patterns across 5 major categories, and tons of use-case driven examples for leveraging mashups across your enterprise. There is also a collection of "don'ts" (anti-patterns) as well as 12 case studies. Each company Jeff interviewed for this article (JackBe, IBM, Serena) contributed at least 2 each.

United StatesMichael Ogrinz


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