IBM has introduced a mashup portfolio designed to help line of business users create applications for specific situations.
The driver behind development of the portfolio is the recognition that there is a huge amount of value in unstructured data and content that doesn’t always fall neatly under the IT enterprise umbrella.
“There is an unmet need in the industry for easy consumption of this data and for building applications that can compile this information in one service,” IBM’s Anant Jhingran, vice president and CTO of IBM information management, told TechNewsWorld.
The portfolio is built around two products: IBM Mashup Center and WebSphere sMash. IBM Mashup Center is meant for non-technical users; it lets them drag and drop mashup components from various sources — content from personal or enterprise databases or the Internet — to create customized Web applications.
IBM Mashup Center includes a browser-based foundation, a set of business-ready widgets, and a catalog for finding and sharing widgets and mashups. It stores information feeds from enterprise sources inRSS,ATOM orXML formats, depending on the content.
Powered by Lotus Mashups and IBM InfoSphere MashupHub, IBM Mashup Center will launch in beta on April 15.
WebSphere sMash is a developer platform for building and running Web 2.0-based applications using SOA (service-oriented architecture) principles.
It lets developers use scripting languages, lightweight application assembly andREST-style service invocation to create, assemble and execute situational composite applications, according to IBM.
WebSphere sMash is based on Project Zero, an incubator project for building Web-based applications using dynamic scripting.
ERP, CRM Mashup
One early adopter of the portfolio is using it to combine enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management data in order to display accounts by region, sales history and customer service incidents, and to show the sales pipeline by product line, according to IBM.
In another case, sales reps are able to upload planned travel and spreadsheets of account forecasts into the IBM Mashup Center, which then generates feeds that gives them the necessary information to plan an effective customer engagement strategy.
The tools can be applied to any business function, Jhingran said. They can give any internal unit, such as human resources, for instance, the means to create a different view of a particular operation or display specific content in a different way.
“What we have done is give these units tools with a rigid set of access controls,” he explained, “and allowed them to do what they want with a particular package of information.”