IBM has announced plans to purchase one of its business partners, Trigo Technologies, to add product information management capabilities to its WebSphere middleware line. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Trigo makes Product Center, a technology used by customers, including Staples and Albertsons to create a centralised repository of product information, with change-management and publishing functionality.
It has been an IBM partner for three years.
Product Center already works with IBM's WebSphere Application Server, according to Paraic Sweeney, vice-president of IBM's newly-created product information management solutions group.
IBM planned to add Product Center to its WebSphere portfolio as an independent module, he said.
"The intent will be to build the connections and linkages with other products in the WebSphere product line," Sweeney said.
"For instance, with Product Center providing information for an online trading environment produced by WebSphere Commerce, and over time increasingly getting information from a wide variety of enterprise applications, using WebSphere Business Integration's pre-built connectivity to independent software vendor [ISV] applications."
Trigo has 150 employees, with development offices in Brisbane and Bangalore, India, and several regional sales and services offices throughout the US and Europe.
IBM expected to offer jobs to most of those employees, Sweeney said.
For existing customers, IBM hoped the transition would be seamless.
"Trigo has a very strong team in engineering, sales, services and marketing," Sweeney said. "Our message to the team here is, 'Full steam ahead with the current plans.' This is a growth business for IBM."
IBM said Trigo chief executive officer, Tom Reilly, who started his career with IBM as an industrial engineer, would stay with Trigo and rejoin IBM.
The company expected the acquisition to close in the second quarter.
After the close, IBM would release a road map detailing product and pricing plans, Sweeney said.