Whether you've heard of it or not, Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is an emerging trend that is quickly giving way to thousands of mashups across the web and corporate Intranets. A new article in the E-Commerce Times entitled "The PaaS Era, Part 1: Everybody's Pounding Out Mashups" highlights the growth of mashups as web startups and established companies continue to open up their platforms to third party developers.
Although SalesForce.com is one of the more popular companies out there to provide PaaS via its Force.com platform, there are numerous examples of lesser known startups that have provided access to their platform with a good degree of success. According to the article, less-than-one-year-old Zuora launched Z-Commerce, a platform for third party developers that includes APIs, documentation, and developer sandbox.
It seems that mashups are making their way into the hands of various types of users via PaaS, in many instances without users even knowing that they are accessing a mashup. According to the E-Commerce Times piece:
While their use has become ubiquitous, many companies are not aware they are using them, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. "When we query users we ask about mashups and they either don't understand what the term is or they say they are not interested -- but when we dig a little further, they are obviously using them."
This observation certainly is not surprising, given how much the line between traditional software and mashups continues to blur in lieu of ever more integration and standardization on the web. Still, it seems that mashups have not yet reached their full potential, and as the article points out, we're likely at the early stages of the prevalence of mashups:
The integration of dynamic contact information into a CRM application, for example, address a sore need for this functionality on the part of sales and marketing staff, said Pombriant. "Rather than company databases becoming obsolete, social networking mashups have the potential to keep them up to date. Having these capabilities gives us the opportunity to let our imaginations go wild."
Indeed, the mashup capabilities with third-party data represent only the tip of an iceberg.
We couldn't agree more, as we have seen an ever-growing number of APIs and mashups added to the ProgrammableWeb directories, we continue to witness a growing trend in awareness about the potential for mashups to transform the web in valuable and meaningful ways.
Note: The E-Commerce Times story highlights APIs from four SaaS vendors all of which are now in our directory: Jigsaw API (contacts), Vindicia API (billing services), Zuora API (billing services), and BatchBook API (CRM for small business).