IBM's OpenPages Acquisition Adds Risk Management to Business Analytics

IBM has agreed to acquire OpenPages, which designs risk-management and compliance software, as part of its attempts to build out its business analytics portfolio.

IBM has agreed to acquire OpenPages, a company whose products identify and administer risk and compliance activities via a single management system. The acquisition will increase IBM's business analytics portfolio, allowing it to support compliance and risk-management processes.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. IBM has made no secret of its attempt to transform business analytics into a mainstream corporate process, with a variety of products designed to give executives and decision-makers the ability to analyze information in a "streamlined" and more user-friendly manner.

OpenPages software offers executives and other decision-makers a holistic look at their enterprise's exposures and vulnerabilities, in turn providing insight into how those risks can affect the organization in the future. The software covers domains such as operational risk, financial controls management, IT risk, compliance and internal audits.

"Unforeseen risk can hurt a company's bottom line as well as its brand reputation," Rob Ashe, general manager of business analytics for IBM, wrote in a Sept. 15 statement. "Integrating risk management systems across once-divided units and functions is essential to seeing the bigger picture. The combination of IBM and OpenPages will provide a holistic and consistent approach to risk management helping companies combine that insight with performance management to drive better decision making."

IBM and OpenPages have already collaborated on at least one initiative, a core data system for the Operational Riskdata eXchange Association (ORX), a group of 55 major banks.

"Every day we hear firsthand about the risk and compliance management issues that businesses face, and it's clear that a new information architecture is needed to deliver valuable risk intelligence that empowers risk-based decision making," Michael Duffy, president and CEO of OpenPages, wrote in a Sept. 15 statement. "The combination of IBM and OpenPages software, business products insights and industry expertise will address this need, helping businesses tackle their complex risk challenges."

IBM views analytics as a strategic directive for the company, with a team of 6,000 industry consultants and a network of analytics solution centers; to further support that mission, the company has spent $11 billion on 19 acquisitions over the past five years. IBM executives estimate that business analytics will grow to be a $16 billion business by 2015.

IBM's initiatives include real-time streaming analytics, which analyze and integrate any type of data input continuously and in real time. With that infrastructure in place, businesses would receive instant evaluations about current and future behavior, and then translate that information into a viable strategy. The OpenPages acquisition, it seems, will add yet another layer of capability to both that and other IBM analytics.