Enterprise 2.0 Conf: Mashups: Best practices and best examples

by David Spark on June 13, 2008

The value of mashups is at its core the value of the API (application programming interface). Nobody has to say that it’s OK to launch an API. While you have to get approval to launch an operating system, you don’t with an API. And APIs are very powerful. Entire applications can be built upon them.

Such was the introductory explanation from David Berlind who moderated a panel on mashups and their value in the enterprise. The discussion trended between best practices and examples of really cool mashups. So here’s a summary of some of the items brought up.

Best practices:

  • Let people stay within the environment their comfortable with. So let sales people stay in Salesforce.com.
  • Make sure your data is accessible and remixable. Unlock it and wrap it in ATOM feeds.
  • Not all mashups are mission critical. Some are good enough. You can put one together in a day. Sometimes you need to do that so you can see the value quickly.
  • Make sure your IT and business goals are aligned. Don’t get into a situation where there’s conflict. If business doesn’t get satisfaction from IT, they’ll take matters in their own hands. Sometimes they may just use a simple tool like Yahoo! Pipes or Popfly from Microsoft and create a tool to expose corporate content without approval from IT.
  • Make it portable and reusable. Make sure they can be shipped off to other services, that they can move around the organization.
  • To actually secure the mashups, you need to create a mashup platform.
  • Heavy industry users of mashups are anyone that’s heavily involved with spreadsheets. Such example industries include insurance, financial services, and retail.
  • You have to make these tools addictive so people will keep putting their information in to keep the mashup valuable.
  • Build fault tolerance. The components are out of your control. Need to monitor. You can create a rules based system. For example, if this goes down then switch to this data source.
  • Not all mashups include a map. :)

Some cool examples of mashups mentioned:
(Sorry I don’t have links, the panel just mentioned that they had seen these mashups before.)

  • Registration mashup for conference: Pull in content from a variety of sources that have personal content like YouTube.
  • Emergency response: Send information in real time when there are tragedies. This information could be even more powerful if it were sent to mobile devices. Great for mission critical use cases.
  • Situation awareness: Homeland security can do constant level of monitoring across many variables. They have a constant holistic cross-referenced view as to what’s going on.
  • Assembling a customer visit: Salesforce.com mashup per customer that shows the weather for that date of visit, the golf courses, happenings on Eventful, and restaurants in the area.
  • FaceForce: Puts the Facebook interface directly into Salesforce.
  • Human resources matchup: When you interview someone, this matchup goes out and scans all social networks and sees tons of information about their personal life.

Make sure you check out the summary of all coverage from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2008 in Boston.

This post is cross-posted from the Enterprise 2.0 Blog.

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