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New IBM Mashup Capabilities Bring Business Analytics to the Desktop

Wells Fargo, U.K.'s Kent County, AMEC Paragon and New York State Department of Labor Using Mashups for Improved Decision Making

As part of its commitment to business analytics, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an expansion of its industry leading enterprise mashup portfolio, including the latest version of IBM Mashup Center and a new offering called IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service. IBM is also announcing a set of new clients that are using IBM Mashup technology to help transform their organizations by using information as a strategic asset.

Every day, more than 15 petabytes of data are created. Mashups are critical in helping people make sense of this overwhelming amount of available data. Organizations from a variety of industries are using IBM mashup technology to empower not only business users but also decision-makers at the employee level to gain new insights from previously hard to access data found in a variety of sources, such as the Cloud, enterprise applications, and personal software and programs.

Bringing Transparency to Government Services
Home to 1.4 million residents, Kent County in the United Kingdom is using IBM mashup technology to bring transparency to government services and help citizens make sense of vast amounts of publicly available information and services. The first of its kind, this pilot program offers residents 570 different information feeds that can be combined and shared online, helping citizens use analytics technology to better capitalize on government information and services.

For example, a resident looking to relocate within the county could create a mashup showing average household income, school enrollment levels and the location of doctors accepting new patients to determine the ideal new neighborhood. This map could be displayed online and shared with others as a way to start conversations and elicit feedback.

KCC Cabinet Member for Corporate Support Services and Performance Management, Roger Gough, said: "You can put all the information you want online but isn't it better when you can see the whole picture and not just snap shots? With IBM Mashup Center we are creating new ways to serve our residents, providing easy to use tools that help them make sense of the overwhelming amounts of information available. It certainly is an exciting time for us."

Making Sense of Information Overload
For Wells Fargo and AMEC Paragon, having quick access to a consolidated view of information is key to maintaining competitive advantage.

Wells Fargo is piloting IBM mashup technology to enhance the online experience for their wealth management clients. The ability to mashup various pieces of existing information such account balances, the status of wire transfers and real time market updates helps Wells Fargo quickly deliver customized solutions for clients using existing resources.

"Virtually all the functionality and information we need to effectively service our clients is already built and deployed somewhere in the cloud. With Enterprise Mashups, we will have a way to access and make sense of all of that information without reinventing the wheel," said Jesse Lund, Head of Technology, Wells Fargo Family Wealth.

AMEC Paragon serves as the Americas oil and gas hub for AMEC, the international project management and services company. AMEC Paragon uses IBM Mashup Center as a way to unify all key project management information and take action on items all in one place. Paragon's mashup solution includes blending structured data with Enterprise Content Management and IBM FileNet content along with information from various SaaS providers. For example, Paragon can mashup project staffing requirements with budget updates and the project timeline. Then managers can take action, making appropriate changes to the project staffing from within the mashup.

Driving Innovation with Mashups
As part of today's news, IBM is announcing a new version of its Mashup Center software and a new offering called IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service. The new IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service is an application programming interface (API) that automatically and securely exposes content from IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence as a Web service for use in other operational applications, business processes and mashups. By integrating entire reports, analyses and metrics - or just the most relevant parts - into key applications such as human resources, procurement, and sales management, users can quickly and more easily make informed decisions in the context of their daily business.

For instance, a sales manager responsible for many retail outlets will be able to easily overlay critical sales reports into a GIS application in order to gain a quick, visual snapshot of store performance throughout the district, identify trouble spots, and initiate necessary sales strategies to boost underperforming locations. Similarly, sales managers accustomed to working solely in their sales force automation system will be able to mashup timely business analytics reports and metrics with client interaction history to better manage and forecast pipeline.

The New York State Department of Labor will use IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service to combine unemployment insurance appeals case management with over 100 reports made available through IBM Cognos 8 BI. The department's Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board System (ABS) handles all information aspects of hearings and appeals, from the time the Appeal Board receives notification of an upcoming hearing, to the decision rendered by an Administrative Law Judge, and any subsequent appeals. By mashing with IBM Cognos reports, department administrators and staff will be able to more efficiently manage the lifecycle of each case file, and quickly and more accurately report latest status and results up the management chain.

"Unemployment insurance appeals are very sensitive cases and demand the utmost in procedural care and management. Only through clear, up-to-date insights into caseload information can we properly abide by our departmental mission to provide all parties a full and fair opportunity to be heard, and to render decisions that are based on the record and are legally correct," said Robert Vitello, chief information officer at New York State Department of Labor.

The latest version of IBM Mashup Center is expected to include:

  • Connections with new data sources: Integration with RESTful services significantly expands the types of data sources that can be included in a Mashup. In addition, Microsoft SharePoint, WebSphere MQ and FileNet integration allows businesses to take advantage of their existing investments by generating feeds these applications that can quickly and easily be mashed up with other data sources.
  • Improved security and governance: Now, businesses can filter malicious content and stop the use of un-trusted widgets to prevent information stealing. In addition, Mashup Center is now compliant with Section 208 of the US Federal Government's e-Government Policy.
  • New collaboration and community tools: Now, IBM Mashup Center allows businesses to create collections of mashup pages. Without requiring IT support, people can assemble a space around a specific business need or project to enhance collaboration and productivity.
  • New widget tools: A new browser-based tool lets people create simple widgets - small applications or pieces of content that can be placed on a web page - right from their mashup to solve problems faster.

Integrated Approach to Mashups
Now, with IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service and IBM Mashup Center, clients can combine information from within IBM Cognos reports with other applications and access it in an easy-to-use Web interface. For example, if a pharmaceutical sales rep was asked to predict their upside for the quarter they could quickly access an IBM Cognos report highlighting sales progress to date and mash it up with a report from their CRM system that showed projected close dates for sales and historical sales patterns for the same quarter in previous years. Then, using a widget in Mashup Center they could graphically represent this information over a given timeline to estimate anticipate upside to sales quotas all within minutes of receiving the request.

"IBM Mashups takes analytics out of the backroom and onto the desktop, putting people in control of the vast data resources their company already has in place," said Anant Jhingran, vice president IBM Information Management. "With new capabilities and software, we are continuing to innovate to help customers make smarter decisions."

The latest version of IBM Mashup Center software is expected to be available in November. IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service is expected to be available in December.

More Stories By Engin Sezici

Engin Sezici is a travelling blogger-at-large, who held corporate positions at SYS-CON Media from 1995 through 2004. Engin, who retired in 2004, likes to travel through Europe and Greek Islands, reports on technology subjects from around the world and lives on a private island in the Bahamas wih his twin brother when he is not on the road. You can reach him at engin(at)sys-con.com.

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