FAQ


All right, so you start to be convinced by Mashups, but still you have questions. We’ve listed below most of the questions we got from our customers. And this is how we answered before starting to build successful enterprise mashups with them. Let us know what you think. And if you have others, please contact us. We love finding answers.


TOPICS:


Is this yet another layer of technology and risk?

No. It’s all standard technology (cf. Eclipse Studio, Ajax Javascript)


What about Security?

Enterprise Mashups can be easily integrated with existing business processes and automated workflow. Therefore, they are likely to contain sensitive internal management information, and need to meet normal enterprise application requirements for security, governance, compliance, reliability, monitoring, and availability. Convertigo C-EMS IT Studio gives all capacities to IT Departments to drive mashup developments and mashup information management in a secure way.


What about Portability?

IBM, JackBe and Serena Software offer mashup environments that enable enterprises to create, manage and mash a repository of gadgets. However, the gadgets that are built and managed in one vendor’s environment are not interoperable with and portable to another vendor’s environment. Thus, customers are locked into their vendor, with limited interoperability. Mashup standards efforts such as OpenAjax Alliance, OpenSAM, OpenSocial, DataPortability are evolving, but are still early in the adoption cycle.


Recommendations


sketch


What about Interoperability?

Gadget interoperability is an advanced form of enterprise mashups. It requires an underlying information model or a rich transformation capability to enable widgets to exchange information much as SOA initiatives require an information model to make services interoperable. Enterprises with master data management (MDM) or SOA initiatives can exploit these information models for gadget interoperability. The standards efforts listed above also address mashup interoperability.

Recommendations

  • Expect to build or extend an underlying information model to achieve mashup interoperability
  • Build the underlying information model incrementally in step with delivering mashup use cases

What about Governance?

Enterprises often view supporting mashups as untenable. Many clients tell us they would need a small army of technical support staff to govern and manage all the mashup permutations that users can construct, and the gadgets that users themselves provide add an extra burden. IT organizations cannot govern and support enterprise mashups as they have traditionally done with their application environments. A subset of enterprise gadgets and mashups should get support
from the IT organization, but gadgets that are brought into the enterprise environment from the Web and those that are added to the repository by users won’t. They are “use at your own risk,” and should be augmented with metadata on the source and its reliability so that users know what to expect when they use the gadget. The IT organization can capitalize on the user community to assist with vetting the usefulness of user-generated gadgets and mashups. The IT organization
must try to support gadgets and mashups that emerge from user innovation to become missioncritical (see “End-User Mashups Demand Governance (but Not Too Much Governance)”).

Recommendations

  • Don’t restrict all gadgets and mashups that weren’t developed by the IT organization. Doing so would stifle innovation and undermine the business value of mashups. Rather, determine which gadgets and mashups will receive the IT organization’s full support, which will receive partial support and which will receive no support.
  • Make these levels of support transparent so that users know where gadgets and mashups come from, and what service levels they can expect. Explain the risks of using gadgets and mashups that aren’t fully supported.
  • Review these service levels periodically. Some gadgets and mashups that originated outside the enterprise may become important to the business, and, therefore, may require more support.
  • Use the community to help with mashup support.

What about Support?

Need Answer.


How does it fit with SOA?

SOA speeds up the development of large enterprise applications and encourages the re-use of existing software developments. Enterprise Mashups extend SOA capabilities to users’ desktops, and enable SOA to be pervasive without incurring the time and cost penalties normally associated with this endevour. They bring SOA down to a practical, operational, business level by encouraging the rapid development of user-oriented applications that combine the reuse of existing enterprise services with public web-based services such as Google Maps.


How to build business cases for Enterprise Mashups

According to Gartner “Enterprise Mashups shouldn’t be viewed as a point solution to remedy a specific short-term business problem. Instead, they represent a general approach to delivering applications (primarily tactical or opportunistic applications) that should be applied enterprisewide”.

We agree.
At Convertigo, with also think that the business value of Enterprise Mashups is encapsulated in 3 areas:


  • 1. Productivity and User Self-Service
  • 2. Enterprise Innovation and Collaboration
  • 3. IT Management and Control

We also think that a solution-based approach on business processes is the best way to build the case. The one size doesn’t fit all. As an example, we’ve articulated the business value for CRM Mashups.


How to get started?

IBM, JackBe and Serena Software offer mashup environments that enable enterprises to create, manage and mash a repository of gadgets. However, the gadgets that are built and managed in one vendor’s environment are not interoperable with and portable to another vendor’s environment. Thus, customers are locked into their vendor, with limited interoperability. Mashup standards efforts such as OpenAjax Alliance, OpenSAM, OpenSocial, DataPortability are evolving, but are still early in the adoption cycle.


What about Portability?

Enterprise mashups should not be left to grow organically. An understanding of business strategy, processes and goals is required to ensure there is direction and business purpose behind their developments.

At Convertigo, we’ve developped a simple 5 steps approach:

  • 1. identify the user community and other key stakeholders
  • 2. establish the project scope and identify information sources
  • 3. implement on an interactive and ongoind process
  • 4. Test and deploy focusing on usability and acceptance
  • 5. Measure results and adjust accordingly

This can be done in a matter of weeks, or even less. Together with our consulting partners, we’ve done it dozen of times. And we have best practices to share.