Back in 2007 and early 2008 I anticipated a rapid rate of enterprise mashup adoption. Just about everyone, including me was talking about enterprise mashups as a new paradigm for end user computing where business users would rapidly assemble and reassemble applications in a highly dynamic fashion. Users can “create applications as fast as the situation changes” was one of the lines I used. I talked about The MacGyver Principle and Tom Cruise’s character in the movie Minority Report. This was a truly revolutionary vision and the tremendous power of mashups to drive change.
Then the economic downturn hit us hard. Many enterprises curtailed investment in new systems to instead focus on how to get the most out of their current IT investments. The financial industry, an early adopter of mashups was obviously hit the hardest. Gartner client interest in mashups waned slightly but I was anticipating a significant escalation prior to the downturn. You may have noticed that enterprise mashups is not on Gartner’s top ten technologies to watch anymore.
Then a shift in the need began. Instead of asking about end user empowerment, clients began inquiring about how to reduce integration costs with mashups. Some organizations were trying to use mashups to clear out their application integration backlog more quickly and at less cost. Others were facing new integration challenges due to mostly unexpected mergers and acquisitions.
This new use case is now rippling through the enterprise mashup technology sector. Many mashup vendors were direct selling an end user based solution to business unit leaders. Now the main buyer is in the IT shop. several mashup vendors are now adapting their value proposition and marketing messaging to this new audience. Additionally, there is a movement to an indirect sales model that has mashup players working hard to establish relationships with systems integrators. All this takes time to build traction.
I still believe that end user empowerment is the nirvana for enterprise mashups. It seems we will just need to wait a while before the “MacGyver principle of applications” is a mainstream reality. In the meantime we will just have to settle for a better way to address some application integration challenges 🙂