The computing and services giant said it plans to merge PureEdge technology, which is designed to help organizations more effectively capture and store corporate data, with itsand Lotus software products. IBM said the purchase of privately held PureEdge, which is based in Victoria, British Columbia, will also augment its expanding content management business.
PureEdge's software for, or e-forms, is designed to aid companies in merging data from various business applications with so-called back-end systems, such as enterprise resource planning tools and other databases. Specifically, the company's software is focused on allowing customers to more effectively cull and distribute information on issues such as inventory, customer accounts and pricing, in a standardized manner. The software maker has focused on industries including the insurance, government, banking and health care sectors.
IBM said one of the main reasons it targeted PureEdge was that the company's e-forms technology is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), which allows the software to work across a wide range of applications. IBM said it will immediately begin work to integrate PureEdge's tools with Workplace, IBM's line of Java-based productivity applications that run with its WebSphere Portal software.
In June, IBM rival Microsoft announced plans tofor its Excel, PowerPoint and Word applications when the company launches its Office 12 software package next year.
Executives at IBM said the PureEdge deal will allow companies that use Workplace and other products gaining the e-forms software to improve their business process automation.
"Based on the foundation that we have, it's becoming clear to us that electronic forms are becoming one of the key currencies for information exchange, not just for base messaging and documents, but for capturing business processes," Ambuj Goyal, general manager at IBM, said in a conference call. "We are doing this acquisition to capture that piece of information across all of our product lines; it's one of the things that we've been interested in working on."
IBM expects the deal to close on July 22, Goyal said.
Goyal said in a statement that the acquisition also bolsters IBM's on-demand efforts, which center on the concept of utility computing, or accessing IT applications and hardware on as-needed basis.
IBM and PureEdge hadto align their products, including a partnership through which the e-forms company agreed to use Workplace to deliver its products over corporate networks.
Workplace is designed to be distributed and accessed through a Web server and to be accessible from systems running Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Unix operating systems, as well as from handheld devices.