Acting as a mashup matchmaker, Serena Software (SRNA) is bringing together content -- widgets, RSS feeds, and Flash components -- with enterprise data for on-demand business mashups, giving non-technical users access to powerful customized applications without burdening IT departments.
On Tuesday, June 10, Serena will announce the upcoming major iteration of the Redwood City, Calif. company's Mashup Composer service, which allows users to drag and drop a wide variety of consumer information and combine it with data from internal applications -- such as in salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Siebel, and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)-- to create rich Internet mashups (RIMs).
Users will be able to leverage any kind of widget or rich Internet application including Adobe Flash, Amazon search, Flickr, Microsoft Silverlight, RSS feeds, YouTube, any of the 30,000 Google gadgets, LinkedIn or Facebook profiles, or external newsfeeds. That's a lot of stuff, and there will soon be even more, especially the fruits of the fast-charging social networking.
Serena explains how this works:
Imagine a scenario where a sales rep is preparing for a big meeting with a new customer. The rep might start with the customer’s record in salesforce.com, and have the mashup fetch related information like a photo and details from the customer’s Linked In or Facebook profile, external news feeds showing the company’s latest stock price, credit report information from a Dunn & Bradstreet Web service, and widgets showing local weather and traffic in the customer’s location. Soon the rep has all the information needed for the meeting. It’s as easy as personalizing a Yahoo! home page.
While some IT folks may worry about putting this functionality in the hands of non-technical people, Serena says they have that worry covered, saying that they provide a "proven governance framework that provides the reliability, security, and compliance that IT requires."
I wrote about this issue last August when I blogged on Serena and what was then its upcoming "Project Vail:"
The trick is how to allow non-developers to mashup business services and processes, but also make such activities ultimately okay with IT. Can there be a rogue services development and deployment ecology inside enterprises that IT can live with? How can we ignite 'innovation without permission' but not burn the house down?
"Serena believes they can define and maintain such balances, and offer business process mashups via purely visual tools either on-premises or in the cloud.
The new functionality in the Mashup Composer will be available free of charge as part of Serena's on-demand release in the third quarter. Word has it that the tool will be free, and that pricing will follow the cloud model, based on infrastructure use over time.
The Serena model augers well for my earlier comments on the power and need for WOA. Again, I'm not locked into the WOA nomenclature, but the goal of spurring on SOA use and methods via energizing users with Web content remains.
Serena defines its Mashup Composer process one that enables "business mashups." I like the imagery that connotes. I'd take it a step further and join it with my WOA value comments, such that business mashups are a catalyst to broader SOA use and adoption while also extending SOA value into the managed cloud.
Consider the power of combining and leveraging the best of SOA, the best of on-demand business mashups, and the powerful insights on users and their communities as defined by the social graph information now available from the social networks.
Effectively bringing together business assets, open web content and defined social relations will offer something quite new and very productive over the next few years. Those companies that jump on this early and master it will develop a broad advantage.