Mobile mashup and SOA

I found this Wall Street Journal video here at The Lost Remote. One of the things I’ve been working on at the moment is a retail sector publication on trends and issues for 2007. This video sums up succinctly the message I’ve been trying (like many others) to get across — the world of communication (as in Internet and Mobile Phones) is fundamentally changing.

Apart from being an entertaining little video, it issues some real challenges which is to get our heads around some of these types of features. Particularly for retail (ie consumer focussed sectors) understanding where the internet and mobile technology is going will be key to early mover advantage and future success. Taking advantage of the application driven nature of the Web 2.0 and plugging services together with proprietary systems is the compelling challenge for companies today — even if they don’t realise it!

From an Enterprise Architecture point of view, an SOA view of the world is becoming even more critical. It’s all a service, wether it’s an internal or external application, the boundaries are changing. With a strong services focus internally, then mashups between internal and external apps become compelling value adds for consumers and the companies that serve them.

Here’s a simple example, using Plazes, another interesting startup I’ve come across recently.   There’s a similar service shown in the video.

Plazes is at first glance locating you on a map. Kind of neat, but when you explore it under the hood a bit you realise it’s also a locater service for friends and others in your area. For a retailer, the scenario could play out like this. Set up Plazes, place your retail outlets, let your customers hook up as friends then use the Plazers service to let you know when your friends (ie. customers) are near your location. This kind of location mashup could be put together quickly with a prior investment in SOA internally, enabling you to then link the friends to your backend systems, work out what they’ve purchased recently then contact them to tell them that there is a special offer available now if they come into the store.

What the Web 2.0 evolution is doing is removing the requirement for us to wait for big vendors or vertical applications. Enterprises should be acting now to ensure that they are ready to grab the best of the web and put it together in innovative ways for their customers.Â

That means sound SOA strategy so that agile developers can pull together the systems they need to create compelling applications.