As data moves into the cloud, so too will the need to integrate it.
That's the fundamental thought behind new services designed to allow end users to "mash up" data in the cloud. Once upon a time, we called these composite applications. But a composite application typically is built by a developer. A mashup, on the other hand, is something any "power user" can probably create and share without a developer's aid.
One of the leading purveyors of enterprise mashups in the cloud, JackBe, has made an implementation of its enterprise mashup software, the Presto Enterprise Mashup Platform, available on Amazon's EC2 cloud computing platform. According to JackBe CTO John Crupi, customers are not only using the platform to build lightweight mashups, many of them are beginning to create workflow applications that integrate with SAP applications or call stored procedures in a database.
JackBe also is trying to foster the development of some de facto standards for enterprise mashups through the creation of an Open Markup Alliance, which is chartered with developing an Enterprise Mashup Markup Language (EMML).
Data really only has value when it can be compared with something else. A lot of organizations, though, can't do that easily with their existing systems. While cloud computing initially came about as a way to reduce infrastructure costs, its ultimate benefit will be increased collaboration resulting from making data that much more accessible.