Words of advice for those just getting started with mashups: There are a lot of tools out there, and almost a complete lack of standards. Don't fall prey to a slick advertising campaign or sales pitch. You need to do your own due-diligence and make sure the mashup platform you adopt is both easy-to-use and also fulfils your technical requirements. And don't put security and governance on the back-burner. Excel-based solutions are notoriously thorny because they can spread across an organization without any supervision or control. Don't let this happen with mashups. IT has decades of expertise in managing solutions development and they should be engaged early to help implement your firm's mashup environment.
5 keys for success
- Stop viewing resources (Web sites, spreadsheets, PDF files, etc.) intended to be user-facing as something that only a person can consume. Imagine what you would do with the resources "behind the glass" if you could get to them. Mashups make this possible.
- Partner with IT. Mashups aren't just for empowering end-users, they can help IT work faster. An IT-centric pilot is a great low-risk technique for exploring mashup technology.
- Credit your sources. If you mash-in data from other places and don't take this step, those other resources might be shut-off one day if no one realizes they are critical to your solution.
- Find the ROI. Doing mashups for the sake of mashups won't be successful. Start with use cases that have a clear return-on-investment attached.
- Choose your platform wisely since standards are only just emerging. Hit up potential vendors for a free pilot. Times are tough for everyone right now, mashup vendors included. Get them to prove their product, ideally by tackling a project already on your plate.