IBM on Thursday announced it has acquired Holosofx, a privately held maker of business integration software based in El Segundo, California. The two companies, which have had a relationship since 1998, did not disclose financial details of the deal.
IBM will add Holosofx's business process modelling (BPM) and monitoring tools to its WebSphere portfolio of integration infrastructure software.
"We see an enormous opportunity in the integration market," said Paraic Sweeney, vice president of marketing for IBM WebSphere, in a press conference announcing the acquisition. In its second-quarter results, IBM reported greater than 100 per cent year-on-year growth of its WebSphere business integration portfolio, Sweeney said.
"Within that integration opportunity, we're seeing rapidly increasing demand for process-based integration tools, servers and services," Sweeney said.
Holosofx customers can feel much better about the stability of the company now that it's part of IBM, said Hassan Khorshid, CEO and founder of Holosofx, which has 60 staff. "Now our size will not be an issue," he said.
Holosofx customers include Aetna, US Healthcare, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Toyota and Wachovia. It has a suite of three products -- BPM Workbench, BPM Server and BPM Monitor -- which IBM has been reselling since August 2001.
BPM Workbench, the backbone of the suite, helps companies model and revise their existing business processes. Users then export the business process models from Workbench to a process engine -- such as IBM's WebSphere MQ Workflow -- for execution.
Holosofx's BPM Server, a Web-based application, allows companies to store business process models created in BPM Workbench on a central server and publish those process models over the Web or to corporate intranets. BPM Monitor collects and presents data from the workflow engine so users can analyse processes that are in operation and identify where bottlenecks exist.
Holosofx's primary software development facility is in Cairo. IBM will absorb the company's employees, and the Holosofx development team will work out of IBM facilities in Egypt, said Marie Wieck, vice president of development for the WebSphere business integration group. Khorshid has agreed to join IBM, Wieck said.
The combined team will work to enhance integration between Holosofx's tools and IBM's WebSphere MQ Workflow, which provides the transaction environment for executing business processes.
The Holosofx purchase is IBM's third this year for its integration software portfolio. In January, IBM completed its acquisition of CrossWorlds Software, which makes business process integration servers and tools. In June, IBM bought Norwegian directory integration software maker Metamerge.
Studies suggest application integration and business process integration are key concerns for many companies. In the latest release of Morgan Stanley's ongoing CIO Survey Series, application integration topped the list of respondents' IT priorities for 2002.
In a survey of 200 companies, Delphi Group found that while only 12 per cent are using BPM software today, 63 per cent are in the early stages of evaluating BPM services and plan to deploy a solution within the next 12 months. Virtually all the rest expect to deploy BPM software within two to three years, Delphi Group reported.