Widgets invading the enterprise

Widgets invading the enterprise

Summary: Widgets are making further entry into the enterprise. IBM is partnering with Google to allow integration of more than 4,000 Google Gadgets with WebSphere portals.

TOPICS: Google

Widgets are making further entry into the enterprise. IBM is partnering with Google to allow integration of more than 4,000 Google Gadgets with WebSphere portals. It's the beginning of a trend (which I wrote about in the post, SOA for the masses) that marries consumer and enterprise content in composite application environments.

Enterprise content is also showing up on personalized home page. For example Etelos, an enterprise CRM provider, introduced CRMforGoogle, which integrates with Google Apps Premier Edition and Google's Personalized Homepage via widgets (gadgets, modules). Etelos also integrates with Netvibes, a personalized, widget-based portal. 

Ed Anuff, CEO of Widgetbox, a directory and syndication platform for widgets, told me that Web widget adoption is on a major upswing. However, widgets in the context of enterprise portals requires a security model in which the widget providers have to known and authenticated. Most widgets are not designed with corporate security in mind.

"The challenge is opening up corporate portals to a lot of external content. You have to evaluate them from a standpoint of whether the widget provider can deal with enterprise terms of service," Anuff said. "Widget providers have different standards of service, and the providers aren't making enterprise class services based on their entire of widget catalogs. We are capable of doing it based on demand, but right now we want to see what happens and how the costs get passed on. We are still a couple of quarters away for doing it for any services other than consumer content."

Anuff also noted that widgets are getting smarter, allowing for more personalized experiences, such as configurable widgets that know and preserve your preferences. It really just the next step in modularizing software, allowing the developers and users to carve out content functionality into Web-service enabled widgets.

The issues of multiple formats for widgets and a lack of unification and standardization for desktop and Web widgets are also a barrier to adoption for enterprises. W3C's Web Application Formats Working Group is working on specification for standardizing the way widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a device independent way.

Topic: Google

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  • Simple BI

    Dan, emerging also is a whole new set of enterprise users. No longer is BI limited to the upper echelons of a corporation, and futher to that, corporations who can swallow the high sticker price of BI systems. We're seeing a real trend of small to mid size enterprise customers, and a wider range of end users, who have an appetite for monitoring simple real-time data. Here is where widgets (and our dashboard - KlipFolio) we think can really have an impact.

    The quick and dirty ability to take your existing enterprise systems (from production systems to marketing apps to financial reporting tools) and output just enough data to be able to make quicker, better decisions.

    You're right in saying that current widget platforms are not designed with security in mind. Things like white and black lists, encrypted and signed services, and the ability to plug into LDAP services will all need to be available for a true enterprise dashboard to take off.

    We use our dashboard as a an "enterprise widget" platform all day long. The value to us is so apparent, but as with all new things, some maturing is always needed.