IBM has announced a mashup integration that fits Cognos Business Intelligence with a new version of the company's Mashup Center. The two services fit together to create an environment that leverages IBM's existing technology base with a service that's right out of a play book for social computing.

It's a small move for IBM but demonstrates that the company is thinking strategically about how to leverage its strengths in business intelligence and analytics. At the same time it shows how IBM is adopting new ways for users to communicate more effectively with multiples sources of information.

IBM is leveraging its Cognos Business Intelligence to give mashups more context for the user. Cognos 8 Mashup Service is an API . It exposes business intelligence information from the Cognos platform. The data is used as a web service in mashups as well as applications in the enterprise and business processes.

The new Mashup Center provides connections with RESTful services that give it access to a variety of data sources. Additionally, SharePoint, WebSphere MQ and FileNet may be integrated into the mashups, allowing users to leverage their existing investments.

Users have access to widgets that they may drag and drop into the mashup they are creating. It requires no IT intervention. The Mashup Center also includes:

  • A mashup builder for creating the web-based service.
  • A catalog that includes templates of mashups users have made.
  • Feed generator that pulls REST services from other sources.
  • The ability to import RSS feeds.
  • Security, with permissions based on LDAP.

In a demonstration of the new Mashup Center at the Information on Demand Conference, IBM managers showed how Google Gadgets can be dragged right into the Mashup Center along with data from Cognos to make a case for sales projections.

They focused on how a sales manager could use the Mashup Center to view recent changes to the mashup; ratings of mashups in the catalog; tags; the most discussed mashups and a wiki.

It was a surprising demonstration from a company we have become trained to believe is focused almost entirely on heavyweight business technologies.

But perhaps the move is not entirely unexpected. IBM competes with companies like Oracle, IBM and increasingly Google. All these companies are moving into the social computing space.

IBM's move into the mashup world may be limited but with its interests in cloud computing you have to wonder what kind of competitive marketplace we should expect to see develop in the year ahead.

[Disclosure: IBM paid for a plane ticket and hotel room for Alex Williams to attend the IBM Information On Demand Conference.]