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IBM nabs integration software maker

The computing behemoth makes its third acquisition in a year in the market for software that lets companies link dissimilar business applications to share information.

IBM scooped up software maker Holosofx on Thursday to bolster its line of business integration software.

Holosofx is a privately owned company in El Segundo, Calif., with 60 employees, and it is IBM's third acquisition over the past year in the growing market for integration software. Such software allows companies to link dissimilar business applications to share information. IBM did not disclose financial terms of the acquisition.

As more companies take their businesses to the Web, systems that were never meant to be integrated need be tied together, making integration software more important, analysts said. IBM competes against Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Tibco, Vitria, SeeBeyond and others in the market.

Through "modeling" tools that allow for graphical representations of software, Holosofx allows less skilled programmers to easily stitch together a series of operations to accomplish a particular task, said Marie Wieck, vice president of development for IBM's business process integration software.

For example, in the insurance business, an insurance claim that needs to be processed has to be routed from an insurance agent to an adjuster for the payment claim to be initiated. The Holosofx technology allows a worker to easily build and piece together that process in the computing system, Wieck said. The Holosofx software also features tools that allow businesses to monitor the status of transactions.

Wieck said Holosofx software will work with IBM's array of integration products, which includes WebSphere Business Integration. IBM previously acquired two integration software companies--Crossworlds Software and Metamerge.