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IBM closes Ascential deal, launches data integration tools

Less than a week after closing the acquisition of data integration software giant Ascential, IBM announced plans for new information integration tools.

WESTBORO, Mass. -- IBM wasted no time incorporating the strengths of its latest acquisition, Ascential Software...

Corp., into the Big Blue portfolio, announcing Wednesday the launch of new information integration software and investments. IBM closed the deal with the data integration software giant and former ISV partner on April 29.

Flanked by temporary IBM signage in Ascential's former Massachusetts-based headquarters, Janet Perna, general manager of IBM Information Management Solutions, outlined Big Blue's plans to expand its information integration product road map, highlighted by the next generation of its WebSphere Data Integration Suite -- known as Hawk during its days in development under Ascential. Perna said IBM plans to deliver the Hawk software platform to customers this year as part of the company's next generation WebSphere Information Integration solutions portfolio.

Big Blue also introduced its new federated records management solution, an enterprise-wide record management application designed to reduce complexity and foster accelerated automated electronic records management. IIBM is also working to expand its worldwide information integration research and development resources to accelerate next-generation information integration software delivery.

IT research firm International Data Corp. projects that data integration spending will increase from $9.3 billion worldwide in 2003 to $13.6 billion by 2008. IBM is making a serious push to grab a stranglehold on the information integration space, a position strengthened considerably by the Ascential acquisition.

According to Big Blue, up to 40% of a company's IT budget is spent on integrating its information -- simply putting it all together and trying to make sense of it. They said its expanded line of information integration products can help companies extract insight and gain a competitive edge by getting a better handle on its own data.

"With the capabilities that we are bringing, we are uniquely positioned to provide customers with a way to gain value from all their information assets," Perna said. "It's about the customers' information, [and] providing them with the services and capabilities to help companies leverage their information, put it to work, gain insight and deliver this information as they need it, which is information on demand."

IBM said the major resources Ascential brings to the table include data profiling, quality, transformation and movement technology. Ascential had been an IBM ISV partner since 2001, and its revenue grew 46% in 2004 to more than $271 million.

"When putting the capabilities of Ascential and the existing capabilities of IBM's information integration together, you come up with a broad product portfolio that can address any kind of data content, structured or unstructured," said Pete Fiore, IBM's vice president of information integration and the former president of Ascential. "When you put these two together, you get a pretty sizeable organization with a very broad technology stack … it's a really substantial presence in information integration."

The Ascential acquisition was the 21st for IBM's software group since 2001.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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