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Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Carmen Gonzalez

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41% of you need to read this

When analysts talk, people listen. I am proud to say that JackBe is no exception. For example, we recently heard that a recent Forrester survey of 262 US IT decision-makers revealed ‘41% have never heard of mashups’. Based on this, Larry Dignan at ZDNet recommended companies like JackBe ‘start talking to CIOs and technology decision makers’. To this marketer’s ears, that's all the marching orders I need.

Coincidentally, JackBe has had the opportunity to perform a simple survey of our own in the past few months. We asked over 1,200 people some very simple questions about enterprise mashups. The responses are striking, particularly in light of Forrester’s survey.

The first question was fundamentally simple: ‘Are you implementing or planning to implement an enterprise mashup solution?’. And the overall response was encouraging:
  • Yes (49%)
  • No (51%)
And of the 49% that replied ‘Yes’, over 50% of them are going about their implementation in the next 12 months.

The second question has the potential to be even more instructive: ‘Could you briefly describe the business problem Enterprise Mashups will address for you?’. We received hundreds of distinct answers to this query (we published a few in the distant past). Here’s are some notable replies. (Note: we tried not to wordsmith these responses, so you can picture these real-world examples as they are imagined by their owners.)

For vertical/industry use...

Manufacturing
  1. Consolidate a large volume of data created by R&D scientists and a wafer fabricator to understand metrics that can improve R&D tool utilization and time-to-market.
  2. System performance monitoring and customer service support for electronic products.
Government
  1. Develop desktop and mobile real-time collaborative situational awareness applications for DOD, Public Safety, and Emergency Management.
  2. Tie together an ESRI GIS system and a 311 citizen call center CRM app for flexible graphical reporting to county managers.
Education
  1. Enable students to combine disparate information resources into digital learning objects
  2. Aid upper management and executive decisions by providing better financial and service usage information about the many departments within Campus Life.
For horizontal/functional use...

Support/Enhance Existing Information Technology
  1. SOA/BPM extended to power users.
  2. Various operational data sources and BI reporting solutions with high-cost interfaces and integration points for data consolidation.
  3. Portal replacement.
  4. Address limitations in existing IT systems to address strategic and operational business pain points emerging due to inefficient data work flow between applications.
  5. Address supply chain management and demand forecasting challenges resulting from upstream data definition and propagation issues.
  6. Combining Portal and Data Warehouse Reporting elements.
  7. 10 Year old legacy backends, not able to interface to modern supplier organizations.
Financial/Executive Information/Analysis
  1. Dynamically merge top line data from key organizational functions like billing information, new business requests information, staff timesheets, accounting bottom lines, etc, in short/small packets to make constant decisions.
  2. Treasury Risk Management.
  3. Tax code integration.
Web 2.0-Style Employee Enablement
  1. Allowing business people to create their own set of information and services based on well managed services to solve their individual problems.
  2. Knowledge Management and Actionable decision dashboards.
I think JackBe’s survey results shows that there is a cadre of IT decision-makers that are well past the ‘never heard of mashups’ stage. I propose that this group is also past the subsequent ‘what can it do for me’ stage, and well into the ‘how do I get it done’ stage.

I expect the difference between Forrester’s survey results and JackBe’s survey results is simply a matter of the survey audience. JackBe surveyed folks through our website, so our surveyees have likely already gotten past the ‘what’s a mashup?’ question. Heck, that’s what most of our website is all about!

In spite of these facts, however, there are still many out there (including some of you reading this blog, perhaps) that might not get the gist of an enterprise mashup. So, if you are in that 41% ‘never heard of mashups’ group, I’ve got a few recommendations for you:
  1. Do some reading. Blogs can help cut through the hype and get to the real value and substance of mashups. Our Blog Roll (in the sidebar) has links to some we find particularly insightful.
  2. Do some playing. When it comes to mashups, the best learning tools are hands-on demonstrations, as they tend to be relatively hype-free. (JackBe's are here.)
  3. Check out what the experts are saying. There are many. For example, Gartner, Forrester, Hinchcliffe and McKendrick have been very active in their coverage of enterprise mashups in the last year.
  4. Get your hands dirty. JackBe has a Trial of our Presto Enterprise Mashup solution and, if you must, so do some of our competitors.
Serendipitously, JackBe also recently announced a ‘Learn from the Experts’ series of whitepapers and webcasts. As a start, I’d recommend ‘An Executive Guide to Mashups in the Enterprise’ by Dion Hinchcliffe. It’s a good way to get out of that 41%.

Read the original blog entry...

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