Every now and then, a great new buzzword is coming up. MASHUP, the word
that comes from mixing together “a lot of things”, scratching, twirling and
spinning it and makes it something new. We know the word
mashup from club music and from youtube, where two or more music videos are
remixed to create a new track.
When it comes to “SAP Mashup”, we talk about mixing applications
together in a certain fashion.
Dashboards have been such a way of mixing abilities (SAP BW/BI data and
the graphical abilities of frontends) or Excel, the all-time classics of bean
counter’s darling frontend for everything that has a number.
We already had such a period of time, during the 80’s and 90ties,
when PC’s where showing up with an all new way of doing computing. A wild bunch
of applications came up, in competition to traditional back office EDP.
It was the time of the IBM PC’s that made their way
into the corporate IT’s and the endgame of the mainframe era.
Application where “connected” usually by downloads and
uploads. And what the finance software could not deliver, Microsoft Excel would
do. It was the “Mashup” of static old
mainframe data with that enduser PC power.
And as every trendy wave, it quickly become
backwashing as the proliferating world of desktops where undermining and
deteriorating the strategy of the IT.
SAP was benefiting with their new R/3 software from
this trend, since it was promising a central “All in One” solution that will
fit every need of the ERP requirements, and all of it with a fat client on a PC
with a central database.
Time come and go and here we are in the 1o’ies of the
next millennium. Social Media is
everywhere and Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon alone are providing a
gargantuan amount of additional information to people, goods and transactions.
The idea of an “information shadow” is born, as every good, as every
transaction leaves a trace of secondary information on the web.
SAP, now in its best age of functionality, has still a
focus on central, erratic information, based on their ERP transaction. SAP and
the ERP world remind me of the Ents appearing in Tolkiens “The Lord of the
Rings” as ancient shepherds of the forest (Keltic as eald enta geweorc =
“old work of giants”). Old, gnarling, knowing everything,
but if you ask them, the answer comes slowly, in weeks or aeons.
I just want to explain the new need of mashup with a
simple report. (Unions, don’t read further) Imagine you want to create a
special report, that shows the absence rate of ever y employee and compare them
to actual events that happened in the employees region in relation to their
For example, if there was a rock concert in the town
next to your factory and the next day, 80% of the people under the age of 21 in
your company where absent, you can guess what has happened.
What do you need? First, you need a high performance
report that shows all the absence of all employees over the last year. Second,
you need a database with all events (political, musical, local, global) that
has happened in the last year. And you need to show the relation in a diagram
(local absence, geographical events, locations, global events)
There is no technical problem to make this works. You
have a lot of databases on the web , commercial or free, to query the events.
You have services that can relate information (like employees postal code) to
geographical relations (maps) of related events.
And you need to display them all.
This is a perfect sample for a mashup. You can tell that
a mashup is not only a question of tool and architecture. My company (as I am
the founder) recently started a working relationship with Wolfram “Mathematica”,
an mathematical package by its origin. But in its newest release “Mathematica 9”,
it is much more. It adds features like “Predictive Interface” and “Social
Network Analysis”. It is an extremely powerful tool to crunch any kind and any
size of data on your local machine. And they have a service that is called
“Wolfram Alpha”, that can connect your information to any kind of information
shadow topics around your buzzword. With
CUDA used as numerical super-processor connected (the all-powerful architecture
for number crunching) , it is faster than any SAP system with a relational database.
(Talking about scanning “Very Large Data Structures”, not tables ).
Size, in this case, doesn’t matter anymore.
I think we are on the verge of a whole new breed of
applications. Size of Data in the Peta-Byte area, geographical
relation to information events related to your company data, will no longer be
a technical problem. And soon, the management wants this kind of reports from
your SAP system.
Of course, the condensed visualized results showing up
on the iPad or Android-Phone.
So be prepared and watch out for the new Mashups.