IBM moves to expand analytics offering

IBM moves to expand analytics offering

IBM Corp. has scooped up a small analytics software company whose technology it claims will make it easier for developers to embed intelligence technology into business applications and processes.

IBM announced that it is acquiring privately held, Mountain View, Calif.-based AlphaBlox Corp. for an undisclosed sum. The company's software allows customers to pull in data from applications across an enterprise, examine it for relevant trends and present the findings through a customized interface. After developers embed AlphaBlox technology into a business application, users can drill down to relevant data on things such as customers' buying habits or inventory dips and use that information to make quick business decisions, IBM said.

The AlphaBlox software will be offered first as a stand-alone product and then be embedded through the IBM middleware suite, including the Data Warehouse Edition, standard and enterprise, said Anant Jhingran, director for business intelligence development.

IBM bought AlphaBlox so it could provide customers with a way of creating interactive reports that can be used daily, as opposed to static reports that might only be issued weekly, he said. The software works as a series of components to support a variety of business intelligence processes, from presentation to analysis, for any J2EE-compliant application.

For instance, in the case of CRM, an application can be tweaked to allow a manager to access data on the fly and ensure that every customer-facing activity is tracked and every sale logged properly, Jhingran said. Additionally, the software can connect to a variety of data sources and will work with non-IBM-generated data, such as data from an Oracle database, IBM said.

Jhingran said that an IBM-branded stand-alone version of the software will be available soon, although any significant technology enhancements will take place only over the long term.

He also gave no firm date for when the technology would be embedded in the Data Warehouse product.

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