IBM on Thursday agreed to acquire Venetica Corp., a maker of content integration software that allows enterprises to access and embed unstructured data including business documents, e-mail, digital media, still images, and Web pages.
The purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter. IBM will fold the brand name, personnel and operations of Charlotte, N.C.-based Venetica into IBMs Information Integration group within the companys Information Management software business led by General Manager Janet Perna, according to officials of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not revealed. The two parties already had joint customers and owned an existing technology and sales partnership.
IBM plans to integrate Veneticas technology into the DB2 Information Integrator family of products to boost the middlewares ability to find and integrate heterogeneous data sources into existing business processes. Venetica can plug into content management platforms from vendors such as EMC Corp., FileNet Corp., Open Text Corp., Interwoven Inc., Stellent Inc., and Hummingbird Ltd.
IBM officials say that Veneticas enterprise content integration prowess will eventually find its way into "Masala"—IBMs new version of DB2 Information Integrator, currently available only in a limited beta release—to boost the fledgling products search capabilities across more data stores.
Other IBM middleware offerings expected to benefit from Venetica technology include DB2 Content Manager, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Business Integration and a host of IBMs Workplace initiatives.
Veneticas software platform features three levels of virtual functionality, which include Integration Services in the form of out-of-the-box connectors that bridge 20 different system workflow technologies; Federation Services to allow cross-repository data integration; and Developer Services featuring Web components that allow developers to content-enable applications, said Venetica officials.
Despite limited adoption by customers, industry analysts say that vertical markets such as health care, insurance, and manufacturing are beginning to take steps to learn how a content integration strategy can save costs associated with assimilating disparate content sources.
"Theres been a lot of content management implemented in recent years, but its pretty fragmented stuff, so content integration is a serious need right now (for customers) to cycle back over content management (assembled information) and provide some type of unity and integration," said Phillip Russom, principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "Content integration provides a way to secure visibility across multiple content management repositories."
Russom said Venetica should play a pivotal role toward building IBMs on-demand efforts to enable users and applications to access information broadly on an unprecedented scale. A base requirement of that endeavor is the ability to integrate a massive amount of systems of unstructured data.