The deal strengthens IBM's information management portfolio, while positioning the company to compete with Siebel and Oracle.
Posted Aug 3, 2005
On the heels of its Ascential acquisition IBM this week announced plans to buy privately held DWL, a supplier of customer data integration software that allows companies to combine business operations or merge with other companies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed and are subject to customary government and regulatory approvals, but IBM expects to complete the acquisition by the end of 2005. DWL, a former strategic business partner, is a provider of database middleware that combines customer information housed in separate silos throughout a company. Founded in 1996 and focused on financial services, the company's solutions are used by banking, insurance, finance, telecommunications, retail, and manufacturing industries, including MetLife and Staples.
The deal marks IBM's 10th software acquisition since 2001 to bolster its information management and content integration offerings. These deals include March 2004's agreement with Trigo, a supplier of data synchronization software that enables companies to manage shipments using radio frequency technology; and the August 2004 acquisition of Venetica, a provider of software that links data in content management databases with an organization. In March 2005, IBM bought data integration software supplier Ascential.
"Some of our customers call it their M&A chassis," says John Baumstark, CEO of DWL, about the company's integration software. "This software is in hot demand among customers seeking to merge companies using different systems...DWL has worked with IBM as a strategic business partner in helping numerous organizations to create consolidated views of their customers."
The move strengthens IBM's master data management portfolio, including the company's existing product information management software and enterprise data integration software, a key part of the company's on-demand strategy, according to Martin Schneider, enterprise software analyst at The 451 Group. Designed to run atop IBM's central data integration platform WebSphere, DWL's software manages master data records that link related client data together.
"This is really an extension of their acquisition of Ascential," Schneider says. "It will enable IBM to offer a one-stop solution to handle the management of customer data. In addition, they can take this and customize it to fit a wide range of verticals. These solutions do a lot of the back-end heavy lifting required to do CRM, such as with on-demand solutions."
As far as competitors are concerned, Schneider maintains the move will position IBM to compete with such leaders as Siebel and Oracle. "This will be interesting, because Siebel is coming out with its own universal data access (UDA) solution while Oracle just put together its own data hubs out of their databases. This makes for a competitive argument to go with IBM."
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