IBM to Buy Alphablox

IBM has signed an agreement to acquire the business intelligence tools developer.

IBM Corp. announced Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to acquire business intelligence tools developer Alphablox Corp., IBMs first acquisition of a BI tools vendor.

Though the acquisition has not yet closed, IBM has already taken over branding of Alphablox technology, which it calls DB2 Alphablox for Unix and Windows version 5.6. Alphablox, of Mountain View, Calif., developed software used for building analytic applications—particularly for budgeting, planning and forecasting—that can hook into enterprise business applications.

IBM intends to use the technology in DB2 to provide integrated analytics with business applications, according to company officials.

"Having this technology in our stack will allow us to make it easier for our customers to build analytic applications," said Karen Parrish, vice president of business intelligence for information management at IBM.

Parrish said the Alphablox technology would have a complementary relationship with technology from other BI vendors that IBM partners with, comparing it to IBMs release last year of its DB2 Cube Views technology.

Rupert Bonham-Carter, director of global strategic alliances at Cognos Inc., which has had a longstanding relationship with IBM, didnt dispute Parrishs assessment.

"Alphablox made middleware, not out of the box business intelligence applications," said Bonham-Carter, in Ottawa, Ontario. "This really isnt a threat to us. IBMs focused on back-end business intelligence technologies and were focused on the front end."

Bonham-Carter said Cognos rarely saw Alphablox in competitive deals, though he acknowledged that Cognos started out in the BI development tools business before shifting to the more lucrative front-end applications business.

Parrish said IBM plans to embed Alphablox into its DB2 Data Warehouse Edition by next year. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


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