Quite a few people – at least those that read this blog and others like it – are comfortable with the idea of mashups, the activity of taking data from one source, and combining it with one or more others to create something useful and interesting.
Often this happens on maps, but of course it doesn’t have to.
One potential application of this sort of technology which doesn’t get discussed much, certainly in the public services context, is enterprise mashups, in other words applying these techniques within the organisation, behind the firewall. So, taking a set of data or statistics from one department and mashing it up with another.
I’d read about enterprise mashups before, but the idea didn’t really catch on until I saw Bill Ive’s post about JackBe, a vendor providing a platform for organisations to do this stuff. Here’s a video giving an example of how JackBe can be used:
I certainly remember my days as a Business Analyst at a county council where I spent days taking information from one source and having to reformat it to make it play nicely with another, usually in Excel. Having a tool like this available would have made life much easier.
Here’s a whitepaper explaining all this in more detail (PDF warning).
(Obviously, there are other providers of enterprise mashup platforms and not just JackBe, it’s just that I wasn’t looking at their websites when I was writing this post.)