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IBM grabs content management company

Big Blue plans to acquire Venetica to fill out its lineup of software for accessing business documents.

IBM plans to acquire content management software maker Venetica, the 18th acquisition Big Blue's software group has made since 2001.

Privately held Venetica's products will be integrated into IBM's information integration portfolio within the company's DB2-branded data management division. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, were not disclosed.

Venetica, based in Charlotte, N.C., sells software for accessing content repositories that store business documents, images and Web pages. For example, Venetica's software can be used in a call center to integrate information, such as e-mail correspondence and invoices, from different sources related to a customer's call. Venetica has about 50 customers.

IBM said it intends to meld Venetica's document-oriented integration software with its DB2 Information Integrator product, which lets people query multiple data sources at one time. Venetica's products will extend DB2 Information Integrator's ability to tap into so-called unstructured data, such as documents, rather than numerical information stored in relational databases.

The acquisition fits IBM's pattern of purchasing smaller, specialized companies that are already partners with the IBM software group. Last month, IBM bought AlphaBlox, a data analytics software company that developed products that work with IBM's infrastructure software, or middleware, line.

The move also bolsters IBM's software lineup in content management, an area where the company has said it intends to gain more market share. The company has acquired other document management companies in the past three years, including Tarian and Green Pasture.

Analysts say demand for content management systems remains high, because corporate customers are seeking to gain better control of their business documents to meet regulatory requirements and make employees more productive.

Forrester Research analyst Philip Russom said software that integrates different content management systems is a relatively small portion--estimated at $50 million--of the overall multibillion-dollar content management market. However, he said, content integration software will become increasingly important for companies with several content stores.

"The thing about most content management (applications) is that they are department- or division-focused, or focused on one task, like claims processing," Russom said. "In another two years, market demand will grow as companies start trying to get visibility across different content management systems."