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IBM Ramps Up Business Intelligence Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions within the technology sector are nothing new, but when the larger players buy up companies making headway in key opportunity sectors, people generally tend to take notice. As companies continue to expand their focus on business intelligence, IBM is trying to carve out its dominance in this space.

The first significant move was made three years ago when IBM purchased business intelligence software vendor Cognos. Some believed this $5 billion acquisition was IBM’s way of keeping pace with other large software vendors in a space that was rapidly growing and presenting profitable opportunities.

A closer look at IBM activities, however, and it is abundantly clear that the company has no intention of “keeping pace”, but rather declaring a leadership role. The company – over the last five years – has shelled out nothing less than $14 billion on 24 business intelligence acquisitions. Now, business intelligence revenue for IBM stands at $9.6 billion annually and is currently growing at a rate of 14 percent year over year.

This demonstrates a company focused on making business intelligence a key focus. In November, IBM acquired data warehouse appliance vendor Netezza Corp. for $1.7 billion. This acquisition took place shortly after the company took ownership of Clarity Systems and OpenPages.

While it would seem that IBM is extending its reach in business intelligence simply by extending its portfolio of new acquisitions, the company has also invested resources to extend its own business intelligence products. The most recent roll-out was the Cognos 10, the latest update to its core business intelligence system.

The focus on business intelligence continues for IBM and a number of other players simply because this is the direction that spending is going in the market. Those ready to embrace the opportunity will emerge on top.

[Photo courtesy of massimo-group.]