RealTime IT News

Serena Software Joins Mashup Mania

Serena Software on Monday announced the general availability of its Business Mashup software suite, giving companies of all sizes the ability to build these handy mashup applications without the hassle or expense of going through their IT departments.

"For every project IT is doing, 10 projects get ignored," said Tim Zonca, Serena Software's director of product marketing, in an interview with InternetNews.com. "This backlog isn't growing because IT is incompetent or doesn't have the right skills. It's a simple supply and demand issue. A lot of IT budgets haven't grown since 2000, so there's this ever-growing application backlog."

Serena Software thinks it might have a solution that doesn't tax the already overwhelmed IT departments, yet still makes it possible for employees to build customized mashups without taking any engineering classes at night.

Business Mashups 2008 includes the Mashup Composer and Mashup Server applications. The Composer component is a point-and-click visual design tool that connects various applications—maybe from your ERP or CRM system—and automates business processes such as sales discount approvals or time-off requests. Without writing any new code, the Composer lets users pick and choose the functionality and applications they want to mash together, click the "publish" button and send their mashups to the mashup server.

The Mashup Server software, which for now most be installed on-premise, runs all the mashups with the preconfigured security and compliance rules established by the IT department. Companies can download the Composer applications from Serena's Web site for free and start building their applications.

"It helps bring the business and IT people closer together to address this long tail of the application backlog," Zonca said. "One mashup in and of itself won't make or break a business. But with so many applications in this backlog, helping the non-technical business folks to build their own business mashups provides a tremendous amount of value."

Mashups, along with widgets, social networks and unified communications, are the Web 2.0 technologies that vendors such as IBM, SAP and Oracle are investing a lot of time and money in order to incorporate in their larger business software portfolios.

Later this month, Serena Software will deliver 13 pre-built application mashups free of charge that can be downloaded from the company's site and deployed immediately to address a variety of fairly simple business processes such as time-off requests, the on-boarding of new employees and issue defect tracking. The company built these mashups based on conversations with its customers and will make them available December 18.