RealTime IT News

IBM Buy Helps Clients Pinpoint Identity

In a bid to augment its information management portfolio, IBM acquired SRD, a privately held identity resolution software maker, for an undisclosed sum.

Developed in large part to support casinos' efforts to track criminals, Las Vegas-based SRD's software allows an organization to take multiple databases and meld them together, build a single entity server and resolve identities.

It helps companies understand two basic questions: "Who is who?" and "Who knows who?" This is important at a time when criminals exploit computer systems by obscuring their true identities, said Richard Wozniak, director of business intelligence at IBM.

For example, casinos can gain more quickly and accurately pinpoint criminals posing as unassuming patrons by using different aliases or addresses to mask their identity, Wozniak said.

"As you add more and more data, your resolution improves and it tends to clarify and identify," Wozniak said. "The person with this credit card on database A is also the same person with this passport on database B, which is the same passport number on database C. The more data sources you add to it the more the accuracy tends to go up."

But the software will be used for more than just tracking illicit activities. It could ease the customer relationship management chain in businesses and ensure compliance across government, banking, insurance and health care concerns. Such verticals are where IBM hopes the SRD software will find solid footing.

Wozniak said IBM tucked SRD's operations into its information management software organization, making its software immediately available to customers as IBM DB2 Identity Resolution and IBM DB2 Relationship Resolution.

SRD's 50 employees will join IBM, remaining at SRD's Las Vegas headquarters.

Helping customers zero in on business identities and relationships to make informed decisions is something IBM's information management portfolio could not provide despite its previous business intelligence tools, which include DB2 AlphaBlox and DB2 Cube Views.

This is consistent with the Armonk, N.Y., company's e-business on-demand strategy to help clients call up information on the fly to make faster choices.

It's also a sign that IBM is recognizing the burgeoning market for business analytics software, which is largely held down by BI vendors, such as Cognos and Business Objects . According to IDC, business analytics software, a $3.9 billion market in 2003, will grow 4.7 percent through 2008.

IBM has been acquiring software companies to flesh out its broad portfolios at a steady clip, and SRD is the 20th acquisition for the outfit's software division since 2001.

It's also the seventh purchase for IBM's DB2 Information Management division, following last year's buys of Venetica and Alphablox.