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Acquisition of the week

This morning IBM announced its intention to acquire Ascential, a data quality/ETL/integration vendor.
I spoke with IBM this afternoon, wondering why in the world the software giant, which already boasts a fairly comprehensive integration portfolio, would be interested in Ascential. After a short chat it became clear that it isn't the integration technology IBM is necessarily interested in, but rather Ascential's data quality and ETL technology.
As real-time decision making becomes more imperative to the enterprise, data federation (information integration) becomes more appealing to the enterprise. Likewise, the need to present a 360 degree view of the customer in real-time can only be truly efficiently met by an information integration solution that provides federated access to data stored across disparate systems, such as DB2 II or products from MetaMatrix and Composite Software. But to insure data quality requires more than simply allowing access and this is a technology in which Ascential excels.

Competitor Trillium Software spoke up after the announcement, saying in press release:

"IBM's announcement of their intent to acquire Ascential validates the need for high quality information on an enterprise-wide scale. News of this type is welcome in our industry. The nature of providing enterprise-level data quality is not simple particularly in a global marketplace and this helps communicate the complex nature of providing organizations with information that is fit for business purpose, regardless of the source or target system."

Trillium Software is right. Data quality is an issue. Proof of the need for such technology is evidenced by the number of SOA based services popping up from multiple vendors providing isolated access to data quality services for everything from e-mail addresses to physical addresses and phone numbers.
IBM's move will enable it to enhance its information integration line with proven data quality technology and potentially enable future software solutions that include real-time ETL and enhanced integration capabilities.