Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Are Web 2.0 Mashups the next generation of Analytics dashboards

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The more I look at Mashups and its application in the enterprise space, the more I feel that we are looking at the next generation of Analytics applications for the enterprise.

So what is a mashup?

To me its a web application that is created by consuming services and content from multiple existing web applications to create a meaningful target web application.

Now as I understand mashups the one premise is that the API's used for creating mashups should be public API's. However not sure if its very applicable in an enterprise.

Here are the 3-4 popular mashup categories or genere's;

- Maps based mashups. The most popular ones being created between Google Maps and real estate websites or crime watch websites. (HousingMaps)
- News or RSS/Atom based mashups. Now I know I'm putting RSS/Atom which is a technology into these category. But if you really look at the News mashups they're mostly using RSS/Atom. (HeadlineMap) ... this ones more like a News + Maps mashup.
- Video, Photo, Music based mashups. This is where actual media content or media listings are then mashed up with other info sources. Like the iTunes and YouTube mashup where the top 10 from iTunes are taken and mashed up with related videos from YT. (YouTubeDigg)

Now most of the mashups in the consumer world or the WWW today rely either on some kind of web page clipping or scraping or leveraging RSS/Atom feeds to combine the content coming from the two source sites.

Companies like Oracle and IBM have now started providing product suites that ease the process of creating mashups within an enterprise. For an enterprise mashup there could be 3 posisble site combination scenarios; internal - internal, internal - external (most likely) or external - external.
If you have any samples of enterprise mashups that you might have created please share them here.

So now here comes my Analytics dashboard analogy. For the longest time Datawarehousing, BI and Analytics vendors had used the route of we capture the data provide it useful meaning and then release it to the rest of the organization. However the more recent and hugely successful category of Analytics/BI applications actually provided a very simple drag and drop kind of interface to end users so they could create their own dashboards, reports and drive their own analysis. This would be done at the individual level for highly trained or technical resources and at the team or departmental level for small to medium teams, where there would be one rep doing this.

Mashups for me are heading into that relam because there have always been times in the past where enterprise users had requests like .. I wish if only data from this site could be merged with data from that site - and IT would give them a 5 year integration and rollout plan. These mashup tools will now provide organizations with the tools and agility to quickly package and rollout these kinds of apps that would help increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness something those pre-mashup days content streams wouldnt have been able to do on their own.

The applications for these kinds of target mashups would be endless ... Sales cycle, Marketing, Project Mgmt, Systems Management and the list goes on. Well actually the value prop gets even more interesting if you start mashing up the existing enterprise Analytics dashboards with other websites.

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