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IBM Snaps Up Tarian Software

IBM Monday agreed to acquire privately-held Tarian Software for an undisclosed amount.

Ottawa, Canada's Tarian makes software that manages electronic records, which is important for organizations that need to apply record retention and disposal policies to stored information.

Government, insurance and financial fields are a few of the sectors where e-records management is in high demand, particularly in a time when corporate accounting scandals are rocking the nation.

Tarian's flagship offering is its eRecordsEngine, an embedded electronic record-keeping technology for business application software. The software ensures that businesses comply with legal requirements, while improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs.

Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's Data Management portfolio, said in a conference call the buy will conform with Big Blue's new push for on-demand computing, outlined by Sam Palmisano last week, "helping the industry react to customer requests at market speed."

Tarian CEO and Co-Founder Bruce Miller said IBM had had the ability to create, store and transport documents, but it didn't have a product to ensure "formal, standardized record-keeping." That, Miller said, is where the eRecordsEngine came in.

While not the most sexy software sector by any means, content management remains lucrative, and the shenanigans of Enron and others should spur momentum in the space. According to Meta Group, which said the enterprise content management market is expected to exceed $10 billion by 2004. Meta Group also expects e-records management to become more commonplace, estimating that more than 90 percent of global 2000 companies will feature them by 2006.

Andrew Warzecha, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Business Systems for the Meta Group, told internetnews.com that he expects IBM to compete with such firms as Documentum and FileNet for the next one to two years.

Down the road, he said, IBM will be joined by heavyweights such as Microsoft and Oracle in the quest for commoditizing the data repository -- ignoring document automation and records management in favor of "driving content management vendors to focus on vertical and horizontal content-rich applications."

IBM will fold Tarian into its Data Management portfolio, hoping to help businesses manage the creation, management and the disposal of their critical business documents.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter 2002, whereupon IBM plans to integrate Tarian business operations and personnel into the Data Management Software group. IBM will market and sell Tarian technology worldwide through a fusion of IBM and Tarian salespeople, as well as use Tarian technology across the IBM software portfolio, including IBM Content Manager, DB2 database and Lotus software.

The purchase is the second data management play for Big Blue in the past 15 months: the last was Informix, which it completed in July 2001. Tarian is also the sixth software outfit IBM snatched from the market in 2002.

In related enterprise content management news, IBM rival Documentum purchased records management software maker TrueArc Corporation for $3.6 million in cash. Like Tarian, TrueArc is based in Ottawa. There are other coincidences: Tarian's Bruce Miller created and managed TrueArc 13 years ago before departing three years ago to create and run Tarian.

Documentum and TrueArc have been technology partners and have integrated TrueArc's records management software with the Documentum ECM platform. The integration, currently sold by TrueArc, provides the ability to implement records management and retention rules for Documentum customers.