IBM, Documentum Buy E-Records Firms

Companies to enhance apps with e-records technology.

IBM and Documentum Inc. content management software users will soon have new capabilities for electronic records management after both companies announced acquisitions in that space last week.

IBM is buying privately held Tarian Software Inc., of Ottawa; financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Separately, Documentum countered with plans to acquire TrueArc Corp., also of Ottawa, for $3.6 million.

E-records management has come to the fore in recent months with Wall Street financial scandals placing greater emphasis on proper management of financial records and disclosure. Regulatory and legal requirements make records management especially key in the insurance, finance and government sectors, according to IBM officials.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will add Tarians eRecords Engine technology to its Data Management Software Group, specifically its ECM (Enterprise Content Management) portfolio. It plans to integrate the technology with the IBM Content Manager, DB2 database and its Lotus collaboration software products, although officials did not say when that integration will be completed.

Meanwhile, Documentum already has an integration partnership with TrueArc, a package of TrueArcs Foremost Enterprise and the Documentum ECM platform that TrueArc currently sells.

After the acquisition closes, Documentum will deliver a new version of an integrated offering, updated with the latest releases of both products and certified compliant with the U.S. Department of Defense 5015.2 e-records management standard. Tarians eRecords software also has been certified compliant with the standard. The 5015.2 standard has become the de facto e-records management standard in the United States and is becoming accepted worldwide, according to officials at Documentum, of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Documentum officials said the acquisition will particularly help make its software more attractive in the government sector.

Not all customers see the deal as adding much to Documentums suite, however. Peter Loupos, vice president of drug information and approval information solutions at Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Bridgewater, N.J., said that despite the regulatory requirements his employer is faced with, Aventis really does not need a separate product for e-records management. "Within our R&D organization, we pretty much manage everything directly through Documentum-standard operating procedures, clinical studies, regulatory submissions," Loupos said. "It handles all the versioning control and workflow."

Loupos said the TrueArc technology will likely enhance what Documentum already has, though he was not familiar with TrueArcs products. He said Documentums existing e-records management technology is good enough for Aventis but that other industries, such as health care, could benefit from having a dedicated e-records management product.

Both acquisitions are due to close this quarter.