Serena Offers Business Mashup Solutions

Serena Software released its new Business Mashup solution today, which originally had its debut in September. Serena's Business Mashup solution includes Serena Mashup Server (which is sold based on a license fee) and Serena Mashup Composer (a free development tool).

The San Mateo-based company, which is known more for its application lifecycle management (ALM) and portfolio product management (PPM) solutions, also plans to make 13 prebuilt mashups available on December 18, 2007.

The prebuilt mashups will support a number of common business functions where IT typically might be tasked to create custom applications. These mashups include a few apps that will work with's customer relationship management solution, such as a Sales Discount Approval mashup and others. There are also human resources-type applications, such as an Employee Time Off mashup and an Employee New Hire Onboarding mashup.

The prebuilt mashups will also provide some functionality that might be found in Serena's broader ALM or PPM solutions. For instance, there will be mashups for Change Approval, Issue Defect Tracking, Incident Management and SCRUM collaboration.

Serena's announcement describes these prebuilt mashups as "free." However, what's free is that users can try out the mashups for a period of time, such as 30 days, before buying the application. Companies that like the mashup will pay a one-time fee, based on the number of users, enabling perpetual use, according to Tim Zonca, Serena's director of product marketing for Serena Business Mashups. Zonca pegged the average startup cost for an on-premises-run mashup at roughly $10,000.

Serena is also contemplating a software-as-a-service delivered mashup service, but the pricing has not yet been determined for that. Zonca said that the hosted version of Serena's mashup service may be unveiled sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Also in the first quarter, Serena is planning to establish its Mashup Exchange, which will host even more prebuilt mashups. The initial opening of Mashup Exchange will host about 50 prebuilt mashups, with about 30 of them provided by Serena and the rest provided by other companies. Mashup Exchange will follow the same cost model, with some mashups provided "for free," Zonca said.

The good news for IT and business users is that with Mashup Composer, mashups (or composite applications) can be created in a point-and-click environment that requires no coding. Zonca said that Serena's tool has a Microsoft Visio look and feel to it, and that Serena partnered with Microsoft on the tool's user interface. The mashup development technology is based on underlying Application Lifecycle Framework and Business Process Execution Language technologies, but developers (who can be business users), don't need know those details to use the tool, Zonca explained.

"We really won't help IT all that much if we're just giving them another toolkit," he explained. "So what Serena Mashup Composer does is it makes it easy for people to build and deploy these mashups, even if the mashups include integrations with other systems through something like Web services."

Users of Mashup Composer can create their own mashups using data and applications from service-oriented architectures or via Web services. Alternatively, users can modify the prebuilt mashups to suit their business environment.

Serena's mashup capability got started as a result of its consulting work with businesses, where Serena typically found that many common IT projects were falling by the wayside, Zonca explained.

"Because we've worked with IT so closely, we've found that for every project in IT, there are about 10 projects that are sitting in line somewhere, or that have been requested and that don't even get to the line," Zonca said. "And Business Mashups help address that application backlog."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.