IBM scoops up data integration vendor DWL

IBM Corp.’s shopping spree continued with its announcement, this week, of yet another purchase – Toronto-based customer data integration (CDI) software maker DWL Inc.

The DWL buy is intended to bolster IBM’s information management middleware portfolio, Big Blue said.

Product offerings will fall under a newly created division dubbed Enterprise Master Data Solutions (EMDS).

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Information integration is one of the fastest growing areas of data management, said Tom Reilly, IBM Software Group, information management vice-president, product information management strategy. He said IBM would support current DWL customer projects.

CDI technology acts as a core (or hub) and is “layered” on top of an organization’s existing heterogeneous IT architecture. The middleware tools consolidate and manage customer data from a variety of enterprise sources and silos, such as logistics and billing applications, to provide a unified customer record.

This latest buy follows on the heels of IBM’s recent purchase of Victoria, B.C.-based electronic forms solution vendor PureEdge Solutions Inc.

DWL is the fifth Canadian software company IBM has purchased since 2002 (PureEdge in July 2005, System Corp in 2004, Think Dynamics in 2003, Tarian in 2002). Overall, Big Blue has scooped up more than 20 software firms in the past four years.

DWL, with an office in Atlanta, previously acted as a technology and consulting services partner of Armonk, NY.-based IBM. The firm’s DWL Customer software is a Java-based customer data hub that pulls together information from disparate systems.

According to Justin LaFayette, chairman and co-founder of DWL, the firm has reached out to its customer base and the overall response to the deal has been favourable.

He said the middleware provider had been experiencing strong growth but as a small vendor it lacked the necessary resources to expand. DWL’s core customer industry is financial services, although IBM said it plans to add resources to expand DWL’s presence in industries such as telecommunication and retail.

According to Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm IDC, spending in enterprise data integration is projected to increase from US$9.3 billion back in 2003 to $13.6 billion in 2008. On average, a typical enterprise will devote 40 per cent of its IT budget trying to integrate information between different databases and systems, IDC said.

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