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IBM plans to release during the first half of the year a new set of tools that enable employees to build their own mashup on a Web page within a corporate portal and share it throughout an organization.
IBM's Lotus Mashups, introduced Wednesday at the Lotusphere user conference in Orlando, Fla., is meant to provide employees with the ability to populate a page with the services they find most useful within the context of their jobs. The services can come from a human resource application or other business software within an organization, or from the Internet, such as embedding a Wikipedia page or a Google search bar.
In order to get these capabilities to the end user, the IT department would build the page in which the services could be dragged on to. For example, an IT department could build an organizational chart or a map of a sales region that employees could add a layer of services on top of. The process is similar to how Google Maps lets people drag markers on to locations and then link the markers to information on other Web services, such as YouTube.
These foundation pages would be listed in a repository, which would also contain the applications within an organization that have been wrapped with an interface that exposes them as an available Web service. In addition, IT departments would choose the services available on the Internet that could also be used by employees and add those services to the repository. "There's lots of controls that the IT department can put in place," Doug Heintzman, director of Lotus strategy, told InformationWeek.
All of the services stored within the repository would be available to employees through mashup-building tools accessible through a Web browser. The mashups would also be stored in the repository, so they can be shared throughout an organization. Other employees could modify the mashups to fit their own purposes.
The repository can track who is building and using mashups, how they're being shared, the services used, and more, IBM said. The IT department would decide how much of the tracking information is available to users.
Lotus Mashups could be used as complementary application to other IBM products, such as WebSphere Portal software or Lotus Domino. The new product, however, is a standalone application. "We want as many people as possible to leverage it," Heintzman said.