Will enterprise mashups kill off corporate portals?

Are enterprise mashups making portals unnecessary?That's the view of Michael Ogrinz, author of the recently published work, Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Are enterprise mashups making portals unnecessary?

That's the view of Michael Ogrinz, author of the recently published work, Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise.

Corporate portals -- soooo 1999 Corporate portals have been the unending rage since the Web first went commercial in the mid 1990s. However, all these new capabilities for relatively non-tech types to assemble mini-applications on the fly may make it unnecessary for IT to assemble and position corporate portals serving various parts and layers of the enterprise.

As Ogrinz put it:

The mashup phenomenon "threatens the relevance of the corporate portal.... The tools for these mini-applications have become easier to use and more familiar to a broader audience. If enterprise mashups are the path to user-created data and widget platforms are the environment for presenting the information, the combination of the two represent the death knell for the corporate portal."

Ogrinz says that corporate portals were fine for their time, but often only served the lowest common denominator of end users -- "which explains why most corporate portals typically confine themselves to broadcasting company news, managing health and benefits information, and tracking the holiday calendar."

He even considers personalization, a feature that came along later in the portal's history, as a "desperate attempt to address this shortcoming." The problem with portals, Ogrinz says, is that "users typically don't get a say in choosing which content can be personalized or how it can be manipulated."

The rise of social networking sites, with their open APIs, made thousands of users bona fide developers, Ogrinz points out. "They quickly learned to build their own personal portals. This same demographic is just now beginning to enter the Enterprise 2.0 workforce. They won;t be content to operate within the confines of a single, stoic portal that restricts how they consume and manipulate information."

The enterprise mashup may be killing off corporate portals, but they also mean good news for SOA, Ogrinz says. "You may be wondering if mashups are the latest harbinger of SOA, or the beneficiary of it. The answer is a resounding 'Both!' With most vendors now using the terms "SOA" and "Web services" interchangeably, it has become obvious that for most corporations, implementing a successful SOA will require the service-enablement of their existing applications. Mashups are a completely valid method of accomplishing this."

Ditto for Cloud computing. "Mashups are a natural complement to SaaS.... With SaaS and mashups, you may be able to maintain the bulk of your confidential data internally and send the hosted application only small subsets of data for processing. If the network link to the SaaS vendor fails, at least you still have local access to your data."

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