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IBM to buy supply chain company

In a move to bolster its RFID push, Big Blue says it will acquire Trigo Technologies, a supplier of data synchronization software for streamlining supply chain operations.

IBM will purchase privately held Trigo Technologies and add Trigo's product-tracking software to its own integration software portfolio.

Big Blue on Tuesday announced its plans to buy all the shares of Trigo, a venture-backed company based in Brisbane, Calif. IBM said it intends to offer the Trigo data synchronization software, which is used to streamline company supply chain operations, as part of its WebSphere-branded line of integration middleware.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of the second quarter.

IBM said the acquisition will accelerate its efforts to create industry-specific versions of its integration software, particularly among Trigo's existing customers in retail, consumer products, manufacturing and distribution. The Trigo software will bolster IBM's own initiative to use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to streamline commerce, according to IBM.

The combination of the two companies' technologies will improve businesses' "visibility" into their operations by creating "a consolidated view of product information and create a single repository for that in a highly structured and consistent manner," Marie Wieck, general manager for industry solutions and business integration at IBM, said Tuesday.


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Retailers' mandates mean
suppliers have their work
cut out for them.

Trigo's software is designed to gather and centralize data of products, as they move through different stages of the development and distribution process, according to the company's Web site. By gaining greater control over product information, companies can operate more efficiently and share data with outside business partners, according to the company.

Analysts said data synchronization, which can link disparate product data in warehouses to back-end corporate information systems, is a critical part in the adoption of technologies such as RFID.

Trigo CEO Tom Reilly said on Tuesday that the company's customers, such as Unilever, are seeking systems that can combine product information across many different business applications to help meet industry regulations and better share information with trading partners, such as suppliers.

The combination of IBM's middleware and Trigo's product data-synchronization product will present a more complete middleware product offering, he said.

Trigo is already an IBM partner and has built its software using IBM's WebSphere Commerce server software, DB2 Content Manager and WebSphere Portal.

The acquisition aligns with the strategy at IBM's software group to create industry-specific versions of its middleware products in an effort to gain greater market share. "Data-centric automation" is also one of 12 technology areas on which the software group is focusing this year.