With the widespread adoption of Web standards, “information access has become that much easier,” says Dan Gisolfi, an IBM IT architect who’s evangelizing mashups to enterprise customers. “Not only does it use the Web 2.0 tools, but it brings together disparate services and behaviors.”
Newer, more complex technologies from the SOA and Web services worlds -- such as SOAP, WSDL, and REST (Representational State Transfer) -- can also be part of mashups, Gisolfi argues. In a sense, mashups are the simplest form of SOA-based application. “Mashups fit very nicely around the concept of a service-oriented enterprise,” concurs Shane Pearson, vice president of marketing at BEA Systems.
Or as Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at consultancy ZapThink, puts it: “They’re the sexy part of SOA.”
In addition to the benefits of mashups, however, the article explores the dark side: the possible security and governance challenges within the enterprise created by the ability to effortlessly combine data sources into easily distributed applications.
The dilemma is an interesting one. The goal of business intelligence applications is to make it easier for business users to mine data without IT involvement. The goal of SOA is to make it far easier for IT to develop the processes that business users need – even to let business users create and modify those processes themselves. These are trends in the right direction, and based on the recognition that the real goal of IT is not to build and maintain an expensive technology infrastructure, but to serve the needs of business users as flexibly and as inexpensively as possible.
But as businesses distribute control over data sources to more and more business users, are they putting their intellectual property and private customer data at greater risk? Once again, the pressure mounts on IT to work more closely with business managers to allow – to encourage – innovation while anticipating and minimizing risks.