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SOA - Integration Industry Pulse

Beth Gold-Bernstein

Business Mashups - Serena Software

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One of the more interesting and more discussed sessions at the IAP last week was Serena Software, which markets its solution as a "Business Mashup". The discussion in the audience reflected the fact that we were a mashup of BI, data management and SOA analysts. The data people didn't quite get the concept of a business mashup. In fact, they viewed it as a downright bad idea. Who was going to protect the data?

Also, because Serena uses a workflow model to create the mashup, this was viewed as a workflow tool. The idea behind the Serena solution is the enable users to create their own applications and thereby "shrink the IT application backlog". It includes a process design tool, Composer, which is free and downloadable from the Serena website. The full tool also enables you to define data elements, build custom web based forms and create rich interactive user interfaces. While there was much discussion in the room about the definition of a mashup, and the difference between a mashup and a composite application, and what we used to call 4GLs (fourth generation languages), I define a mashup as a type of composite application that brings together components of other applications and solutions into a rich user interface. Serena also provides security, and systems orchestration which enables a drag and drop capability for connecting to other applications.

Serena is now available as a software license, installed onsite, but by the end of the summer will be available in the "cloud" as a SaaS offering. The license model is per user, with a nominal per server fee.

Back to the discussion as to whether enterprise mashups as a concept are a good idea to begin with. I think there is an essential tension between IT control and end user innovation that will always be a part of computing, especially as new technologies enable end users to do new things with enterprise information. One of the questions the data analysts kept coming back to was "who makes sure the information in the mashup is current and accurate?" "How do you ensure accuracy?"

I think this points to an evolving reality with both SOA and data architects. We're there to enable the business, while ensuring they practice "safe" computing. What does this mean in an increasingly distributed and federated world? I think it means creating levels of services that are easily consumable by business users in enterprise mashups, portals, etc., but which ensure the consistency, quality, and integrity of enterprise information. This is not a simple task, and I think the data people have been left out of it while integration tools enabled information integration through proprietary mapping tools. I also think this is a discussion we will be having for a while.
In the ebizQ Enterprise 2.0 virtual conference, Rob Klopowitz of Forrester is going to be speaking about "Control Versus Chaos: The Enterprise Web 2.0 Effect". Be sure to check it out. It's a timely discussion. Jump in.

Industry trends and vendor spotlights from Beth Gold-Bernstein.

Beth Gold-Bernstein

Beth Gold-Bernstein is a recognized expert in integration technologies and SOA with over 20 years experience View more

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