It's all in the DB2 family: IBM buys Venetica to boost data integration offerings

Writing 15 queries in 15 languages is not a job most IT professionals want to make a career of, and few managers or executives want to spend that much time and money trying to gather data for one report.

However, that's the task many corporations face when they try to gather data for reports to satisfy new business regulations such as SarbOx, says Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBM Information Management. He quotes research indicating that as many as 25% of organizations have their business information in more than 15 data repositories.

The bad news, he says: "It's not all SQL." Thus it becomes a query writer's nightmare.

The ideal alternative would be to write one "show me everything about ..." query and gather all the structured and unstructured data -- such as word processing documents, spreadsheets and e-mail -- regulations and regulators demand.

This need to get a handle on unstructured data drove IBM's announcement this past week that it is acquiring Venetica, a privately held company developing technology for gathering and integrating unstructured data. IBM describes Venetica as "a leading provider of enterprise content integration software that enables organizations to access unstructured information such as business documents, still images, digital media and Web pages, and integrate it into existing business processes."

Beyond meeting regulatory needs, Jones says, applications for this technology are in areas such as customer service, where a help desk would gather things like recent e-mails from clients to better understand their needs.

Jones is not coy about why IBM wants to own Venetica's information integration technology. The company wants a big share of the more than $10 billion market for business software integration that some analysts predict will emerge by 2006. He also points to IDC's estimates that companies are now spending as much as 40% of their annual IT budgets on integration.

With the acquisition, slated to be complete by year's end, Venetica will join the DB2 Information Integrator middleware family. This includes DB2 Content Manager, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Business Integration and IBM's Workplace initiatives, Jones says.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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