Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serena Plans Mashups as a Service for Non-IT Staff

Application Lifecycle Management vendor Serena Software is the latest vendor to announce plans for enterprise mashup tools. Called Vail, its mashup platform will be aimed at non-technical business users and launches next month. Serena isn't not alone: BEA last month shipped Pages, a mashup development environment for non-developers, while IBM and Oracle also have similar tools in beta and slated for release around the end of the year.

Serena isn't aiming to compete with the bigger players, at least not directly. Like its existing ALM and project portfolio management offerings, the mashup platform will be sold as a hosted service, able to integrate with other services such as That could appeal to IT shops who don't want to open up too much of their internal infrastructure, though it also means that users could potentially bypass IT entirely. However, Serena isn't aiming for the latter, as most of its other tools are intended for IT and Vail is also geared in part to developers.

In common with other vendors, BEA in particular, Serena sees ordinary users as a source of technology innovation and a way to better align business with IT. This is largely a good idea: The public Internet is so far ahead of most internal enterprise applications that many tech-savvy users who've played with Google Gadgets or Yahoo Pipes have skills that can be harnessed in the enterprise. The hard part is enabling this without giving up all control or distracting other staff who just want to get in with their jobs.

Though the public Web sites help promote the idea of mashups and train users, their free and familiar services could also be competitors to vendors promoting enterprise mashup platforms --- potentially a bigger issue for Serena's ASP model than those selling in-house servers. The nascent industry will also need to overcome understandable customer resistance. In a survey that we conducted for an upcoming issue on enterprise mashups, less than half of our respondents were even considering the idea of letting non-IT staff get involved in development.

  • 1