Continuing a string of acquisitions, IBM will expand its enterprise search capabilities with the addition of iPhrase's assets.
IBM said Tuesday it has acquired the assets of iPhrase Systems Inc., a privately held search technology company based in Bedford, Mass., and will integrate its operations into the Information Management Division of the IBM Software Group. Financial details were not disclosed.
iPhrase, the 15th software acquisition IBM has made in four years, has developed and marketed specialized search software for e-commerce sales, online service and support, and call centers, which enables Web site users to quickly find answers, make purchases and solve problems without requiring expert assistance.
For example, retailers use the Web-based iPhrase technology to help interpret and understand online customer queries, even if they are misspelled or contain jargon.
"IBM is basically adding another set of extensive dictionaries to its own enterprise search capabilities," Sue Aldrich, analyst and senior vice president of Patricia Seybold Group, told Ziff Davis Internet.
"Its not uncommon for large companies to have 12 or more different kinds of search within their systems, used for specific things like customer resources, office supplies and others. Wouldnt it be nice to just have one good one that works across the whole company?" she said.
"iPhrases software is very adept at finding results within very complicated product lineslike items with 50 or more parameters. For example, if a user wanted to find a specific kind of chip at National Semiconductor, it might take a lot of query guesses for someone to finally find the right one. Using iPhrase, it could take seconds," Aldrich said.
iPhrase already plugs right into the IBM WebSphere software, so its a natural fit, Aldrich added.
iPhrase software also is customizable in that it enables merchandisers to dynamically generate customized Web pages with relevant products and shopping cart links, based on individual customer needs, the company said.
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Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz