Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Re: Data Visualization in a Mashed-Up World

Doing this radio show was a weird experience. I've written about Data Mashup for years, and I assumed that the other participants would be coming from a similar base of knowledge. Instead it felt like I had fallen into a time machine, and gone back to 2006. If you read the transcript you will understand what I'm talking about.

To create a data mashup there needs to be some common context, but according to the other speakers this context is limited to geography (read: Google Maps). I'll concede that universal truths, like latitude and longitude, are a convenient way to connect public data from completely unrelated sources. What I don't understand is why the radio guests (consultants and vendors) didn't consider the implications for a private organization. As I said during the show, customers and products are common contexts within a company. There is great value for a CEO to combine sales, marketing, and support information for a 360 degree view of the business. Data mashup allows this to happen, even if there's not a comprehensive data warehouse or master data solution in place.

The other interviewees also framed the state of the art as being a set of developer APIs. This also made me reminisce about the early days of mashups. Has the rest of the industry really not progressed beyond this nascent stage? It was at this point that I became a little flustered. Had none of these "experts" seen the drag-and-drop data mashup that InetSoft's been offering since 2007?

Luckily the host, Eric Kavanagh, was experienced and knowledgeable enough to understand the best practices I was putting forth. He even described my vision of enterprise data mashup (IT defining the atomic sources, meta-data, and security; and users building and sharing their own mashups) as the "ideal".

I hope that the word spreads about what data mashup can be, and we can go back to the future.