In a recent McKinsey study, most organizations (63%) are currently investing in Web Services. Interestingly enough, very few of these same companies (4%) saw Mashups as something they were investing in:
I speculate there are two reasons for this disconnect:
- The name mashup is forever tied to consumer examples like Google Maps and Craig’s List. Now, for serious enterprise types, this seems like a nice to have. Certainly not helping is the Mckinsey mashup definition used in their report.
- Web Services are thought of mainly as valuable for connecting internal systems. At best companies will consider the EDI like experience of passing data between organizations, but again, in a closed system. CIOs are not thinking broadly about interfacing with services in the cloud. That may be fears of security, or the more rampant issue – a lack of creativity (ah hem, I mean a lack of use cases)
The truth is that mashups have a corny name. The name is really hurting their adoption – but the value is very, very real. We just need some better examples and we’ll be on our way. For a long time we have talked about enterprise search becoming valuable when we bridge the gap between the structured and the unstructured – providing a single contextual view. However, I think the much bigger opportunity is in connecting to the cloud.
The good news is that some innovative startups get it. We’ll dive into a few of these in future posts, but just to whet your appetite, take a look at Mashery on the platform (API management) side. You might also find Proto software interesting. They are heavily tied to excel, but they have real business uses cases of how you string varied (external and internal) data together and do some meaningful analysis. (can you say composite applications?)
In the meantime, I built a quick WuFoo survey and plugged it into the site here. Just a very quick example of using a simple 3rd party, hosted service to do something meaningful. Hey if McKinsey can do it, why can’t I? I’ll post the results in a few months if the data set becomes meaningful.