RealTime IT News

IBM's QEDWiki Adds 'Data as a Service'

There's Software as a Service (SaaS). Now IBM has teamed up with StrikeIron to help enterprise and business customers get Data as a Service (DaaS).

The deal adds seven of StrikeIron's data services as widgets on IBM's Mashup Hub. From there, users can drag and drop the data into IBM's QEDWiki, a browser-based framework for creating mashups or links between different Web-based information sources.

In addition to the seven widgets, over 90 other business services from StrikeIron are now available via the QEDWiki.

The seven widgets include a D&B Business Prospect for salespeople, MapQuest driving directions that can be integrated into other applications, reverse business phone directories and sales and tax-rate data for shopping cart applications.

StrikeIron CEO Bob Brauer compares his company's effort to Apple's online iTunes catalog with a decidedly business twist.

"Regardless of where all these data sources originate, the idea is that, just like iTunes, we offer a platform with a consistent access format," Brauer told InternetNews.com. "In this case, IBM is like the iPod. Solutions are only as good as the fuel that drive them and that's where our data as a service comes in."

In addition to its own Web Services Marketplace, StrikeIron already provides data feed services in partnership with a number of companies, including BEA Systems   and Salesforce.com . Brauer said customers run the gamut, from companies like Texas Instruments, Bank of America and Nike, to "two people in a garage building an e-commerce site."

StrikeIron describes its Data-as-a-Service offering as one that facilitates the consumption and distribution of live data and business functionality over the Web. The Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based company has revenue sharing agreements with various data providers, including Dun & Bradstreet.

The live data feeds are available on a paid subscription basis, though there is also a free trial period. While companies such as D&B have long been in the business of providing information directly to customers, StrikeIron brings a Web 2.0 element to the table.

"We've convinced them we're a new channel of distribution," Brauer said. "At the end of the day, we're about reducing complexity."

Dan Gisolfi, an IT architect with IBM's Emerging Internet Technologies Group, mashed up a couple of applications for InternetNews.com in just a few minutes during an online demo. A relocation mashup connected a real estate search service with StrikeIron's tax data feed so you could locate houses for sale in a particular region and get the local tax rate as well. He then used another mashup tool, Yahoo Pipes, to add another information source about local schools.

"Mashups are for non-programmers," said Gisolfi. "It's for those individuals in the enterprise and outside looking to consume data services that they might have traditionally needed a programmer's help to get at."