Mashups and the blur between applications

This article was originally posted on August 16, 2006.

An interesting article by Michael Vizard in the current issue of Baseline magazine warns of an impending data management crisis as the lines blur between what used to be discrete line-of-business applications (ERP, CRM, services automation, other backoffice). Vizard points to tools like XML and web services as a key factor in this.

This concept is playing out with Web applications via the emergence of “mashups,” a generic term for web applications that take elements of multiple other web applications and present them in a single wrapper. An example of a mashup would be the Chicago Crime Map, which integrates crime data from Chicago PD with Google Maps via web services. Also on the horizon are “ dashups,” another somewhat more spurious new term describing the same thing, but done with specific integrated market, consumer, and corporate data (the term was brought to you, of course, by the people who created the API to make it possible).

These trends will likely affect Knowledge Workers in several ways, among them:

1. They will continue and accelerate the “democratization” of business intelligence. BI will no longer be the sole domain of just a few managers and analysts. With rich web service-based mashups and hooks in our desktop applications such as Office 2007, expect ubiquitous BI.

2. A data management crisis, as Vizard states. Ensuring quality data across all of these systems, devices, services, etc. will be a challenge for many years to come, or as long as humans are actually entering much of the data.

3. The combination of #1 and #2, more broadly, are akin to the “wiki” problem (more on wikis in a future post) — more available data than ever before from more sources, but less assurance of the data quality that users have come to expect from tightly controlled and centralized systems.

4. We can expect to see a bunch of new vocabulary words created by overzealous, Web 2.0 marketing types. :-)

Originally published at https://mikegil.typepad.com.