MindTouch Puts The Enterprise In 2.0MindTouch Puts The Enterprise In 2.0
It's not often you hear terms like application integration and IT governance from companies building their businesses on Web 2.0 underpinnings such as blogs, wikis, and RSS. So I was somewhat surprised to be smacked in the face with just that from Aaron Fulkerson, the tech-talking co-founder and CEO of <a href="http://wiki.mindtouch.com/">MindTouch</a>, a company that wants to be the "tissue" that helps enterprises connect all those disparate systems.
April 18, 2008
It's not often you hear terms like application integration and IT governance from companies building their businesses on Web 2.0 underpinnings such as blogs, wikis, and RSS. So I was somewhat surprised to be smacked in the face with just that from Aaron Fulkerson, the tech-talking co-founder and CEO of MindTouch, a company that wants to be the "tissue" that helps enterprises connect all those disparate systems.I spoke with Fulkerson about MindTouch's platform (Deki Wiki) and how it's managing to penetrate the hallowed firewalls of corporate America, making friends with both IT and business users along the way.
My first thought was why isn't everybody doing this stuff? For starters, it's because creating scalable Web architectures isn't for the faint of heart. Fulkerson says the founders' backgrounds in distributed systems helps it deliver on the promise of easy-to-use interfaces and IT-friendly integration. And it appears their sweat is paying off. According to him, Deki Wiki downloads on Sourceforge.net number more than 3,000 a day; something he says plays a big part in driving the "mad adoption" rates. But don't discount MindTouch as a fluffy Web 2.0 open source play. Companies like FedEx, Siemens, Gannett, and other Fortune 500 clients have adopted its platform to deliver mashups, tie together applications, and deploy new collaborative capabilities across broad user bases. So how is MindTouch making friends with both business and IT? For IT, the pitch is simple; make their lives easier by empowering them to add governance not just over the wiki, but over all of their applications. In that sense, Deki Wiki, says Fulkerson, becomes not only an integration layer but a common user interface across different applications. The heavy emphasis on integration is a calculated move by MindTouch, one it knows will not only pique the interest of CTOs across the land, but put it head-to-head with middleware heavyweights such as BEA Systems and IBM. "We're working with a major life sciences organization with more than 700K Web pages. They were going with BEA, but instead chose Deki Wiki. They're now writing all their custom code on top of our platform," said Fulkerson. As far as Big Blue, Fulkerson is confident that MindTouch has some breathing room as it continues to build out its social enterprise platform. "IBM has a proof of concept similar to what we're doing, but we think we're at least 2 years ahead of anybody else in the space," added Fulkerson. The other side of the social enterprise equation involves the user experience. I asked Fulkerson how MindTouch manages to appease business users. "We're allowing customers to add this 2.0 social layer to existing enterprise applications. That adds a tremendous amount of value to the organization because users can interact with applications much easier through common interfaces and processes," he said. Fulkerson compared its Web-friendly approach to integrating applications and mashups to more common ways Web users access services like Flickr and YouTube. "Our architecture is made up of heterogeneous Web services with a PHP presentation layer," he explained. What Fulkerson describes is a theme I'm seeing related to how Web strategies are shifting these days. Service-oriented architecture is moving to Web-oriented architecture and SOAP and other Web protocols are being supplanted by the fast-appearing REST approach. MindTouch's savvy in both of those areas, Web-oriented architecture and REST, enable it to help enterprise clients see external systems and internal data stores like you or I view our images stored on Flickr. "The problem we're solving goes way past a wiki," said Fulkerson. I couldn't have said it better myself.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Perspectives on Security for the Board - 3rd Edition
Entering the era of generative AI-enabled security
How to Develop an AI Governance Program
The Definitive Guide to Understanding IP Addresses, VPNs and their Implications for Businesses
Solution Brief: Fortinet FortiFlex Delivers Usage-Based Security Licensing That Moves at the Speed of Digital Acceleration