Behind Big Blue’s Ever-Expanding Information Management Portfolio

Princeton Softech gives Big Blue new access and connectivity features for a variety of non-IBM data sources.

It’s late summer, so it’s time for IBM Corp. to make an information management-related acquisition.

Last August, for example, Big Blue snagged document management specialist FileNet Corp. Three years ago this month, IBM acquired the former Venetica, a provider of unstructured content management software. Before that, in July 2002, Big Blue grabbed Aptrix, an Australian content management provider. Throw in the late summer acquisition of the former AlphaBlox Inc.—developer of analytic technology that IBM has since dropped into its DB2 database—and you can see the trend: Big Blue likes to go information-management shopping during the dog days of summer.

You can add another name to that list. Last week, IBM grabbed privately held Princeton Softech Inc., a data archiving, discovery, and classification specialist based in Princeton, New Jersey.

With 240 employees and more than 2,200 customers, Princeton Softech gives Big Blue new access and connectivity features for a variety of structured data sources, including Oracle and SQL Server, and much more.

"Princeton Softech brings a nice dowry to the table, including the valuable skills of 240 employees as well as over 2200 clients worldwide—including nearly half of the Fortune 500," observes industry veteran David Hill, a principal with the Mesabi Group. "Princeton Softech has a strong vertical focus, including financial services, health care, telecommunications, retail, and utilities, in which IBM is strongly represented." Not surprisingly, there’s a DB2 angle here, too.

"Princeton Softech’s strength in DB2 obviously appealed to IBM, but its support of heterogeneous databases allows it to fit well within IBM’s larger agnostic software strategy. So IBM gets to have its DB2 cake while at the same time eating a heterogeneous database piece at the same time," Hill points out.

Princeton Softech brings a number of highly specialized capabilities to the table, too, according to Hill—including test data management technology. "[Imagine if] IT needs data for testing an upgrade to a production application, but using a copied subset of live production data could create privacy concerns. Princeton Softech’s Optim product can fictionalize production data but leave it in the proper format, such as properly-formatted but fictional Social Security numbers—thus providing IT good test data without any privacy issues," he explains.

Big Blue plans to integrate Princeton Softech and its product offerings into IBM Software Group as part of its Information Management Software division. In this respect, Hill says, Princeton Softech will also help flesh out IBM’s Enterprise Data Governance story. At the very least, he argues, it will let Big Blue offer integrated data classification, archiving, and test data management and data privacy solutions across heterogeneous application and database environments.

"Princeton Softech’s approach fits nicely into IBM’s Enterprise Data Governance discipline which the company defines as "an integrated discipline for structuring, describing, and managing data as an enterprise asset regardless of organizational and technological boundaries," Hill concludes. "Enterprise Data Governance is a capability within the Information Management Software division so it is logical that IBM plans to integrate Princeton Softech’s product offering within this division as part of its overall Software Group."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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