Why Bank Of America Joined Open Mashup Alliance
The launch of the Open Mashup Alliance (OMA) promises to bring what until now was elusive interoperability among mashups.
OMA not only comprises software vendors but professional services firms and one enterprise --Bank of America (see New Industry Alliance Pushes for Mashup Language Standard).
What Bank of America and some of the other founding professional services firms bring to the table is an evolving set of actual business cases, said John Crupi, chief technology officer of JackBe, the vendor whose markup language is the basis of OMA's new standard.
"We’re beginning to see some patterns in enterprise-mashup use cases from a range of companies," Crupi said, "things we would never have thought of, because data issues tend to be unique to specific systems and organizations."
Getting companies like Bank of America to buy in to the mashup model can be a tough sell, said Mike Ogrinz a principle architect in Bank of America’s Innovation, Research, and Shared Services group, and author of Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2009).
"It’s not like selling a database, where you immediately understand what it is and how it’s relevant across a wide swath of business," Ogrinz said. "The business cases are unique, and it’s a challenge to find out what the business cases are and to match the mashup solution with the specific corporate problem. We’ve come a long way with enterprise mashups, but we still have a ways to go."
One fairly typical enterprise use of mashup technologies Ogrinz pointed to is content integration or migration -- pulling data together from disparate systems -- which can happen totally in-house, or can also involve mixing and matching data on both sides of the firewall.
"Any time someone has to move data from one system to another and manually cut and paste it into an Excel spread sheet, that’s where mashups can have an enterprise impact," he said. "Mashups open up a completely new level of functionality, and we need to educate the business users that it’s available."
Ogrinz said there’s "a degree of skepticism" among developers within his company about the potential of mashups. But he’s confident that they’ll come around.
"We have a lot of systems around here, and though I’m not going to say that mashups are the right way to put those systems together when you need to, maybe a mashup is the right way to rapidly prototype that integration," he said. "You can prototype it, put it in front of the users, and do a bunch of rapid iterations on it. And then you have situations where you just need to get data from point A to point B. You need to do it one time. It’s a migration issue. Why wouldn’t you do it this way?"