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IBM Acquires Exeros in Data Discovery Buy

IBM is increasing its bet on data discovery with today's acquisition of Exeros, a privately held company that specializes in helping businesses find connections between data held in multiple databases.

For IBM (NYSE: IBM), the acquisition aims to capitalize on the fact that enterprise environments are complex, and that while companies have a lot of data, they're not using all of it.

"The combination of IBM and Exeros will enable companies to more intelligently manage their data across all formats and computing platforms, creating a smarter enterprise," said Ambuj Goyal, general manager of IBM's Information Management software portfolio, in a statement.

The acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, also marks the latest sign that enterprise vendors are ramping up their efforts to help companies make better use of the vast stores of data they've collected.

Autonomy recently announced that it's storing 10 petabytes for its customers. But companies need to do more than store data, so Autonomy also delivers answers to over 4,000 inquiries each month related to the data it stores.

At Big Blue, making better use of data is the core idea of its Information on Demand (IOD) initiative, which received a massive investment last year with the $5 billion acquisition of Cognos, a business intelligence company.

The new product will fit into IBM's Information Management Software portfolio. "IBM has data discovery features; the Exeros acquisition will improve it," said Lise Neely, product marketing manager for IBM's enterprise management information tools portfolio. The portfolio includes products such as IBM Informix for better transaction processing .

The new software will improve IBM's Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) service which helps large organizations make use of the massive amounts of data they already have.

Target customers are large companies. "For example, a large bank in the Midwest had ... grown through acquisition," Neely told InternetNews.com. "It had lots of customer data dispersed across different applications and databases. It was handling over 1 million tables, which made it tough to tell which customers were eligible for new offers. The inability to relate data between databases caused the bank to overlook customers that could benefit from its programs."

"With Exeros, it was able to locate 300,000 clients it had overlooked," Neely added. "Customers benefited from access to new programs and the bank was able to cross sell and upsell."

You don't need to have grown fast to have a lot of databases to manage. Neely noted that even a regular enterprise customer will have a mix of database types -- such as DB2, SQL Server, Sybase or Oracle -- running various enterprise apps like enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Exeros can help companies find transactions that have completed and that can be archived in order to shrink the live database, making it run faster, whether it's AMDOCS CRM or SAP ERP, IBM said.

Neely also said that IBM can help all customers, not just those that use only Big Blue's software. "I would emphasize that out data discovery technology will enhance current solutions not just for pure 'Blue stack' customers but also for those customers that have a variety of databases and platforms from different vendors. IBM is best suited to providing value in complex multi-vendor environments."