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IBM Now Tracking Software Development

IBM said it acquired partner BuildForge, a privately-held software development specialist that helps corporate customers meet compliance regulations.

BuildForge's Build Control, FullThrottle and Prism software help software programming teams quickly and easily chart what application was created, how it was created and where it ran.

The combination of BuildForge and Rational software can help customers track, audit and analyze their application development without having to buy additional management tools.

The purchase of the Austin, Texas, company plugs a hole in IBM's Rational development portfolio at a time when companies are being forced to bring software to market faster, while sometimes coordinating with development teams located around the world.

Such coordination of development projects is an important characteristic to help enterprises meet compliance regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC 17a-4 and HIPAA.

Financial details were not disclosed.

This kind of "cradle-to-grave" data management has come to be a focus of all manners of technology in the high-tech sector.

Buying BuildForge makes sense for Big Blue, which has acquired a wide swath of software management, integration and development companies to round out its five software lines.

More than 80 percent of BuildForge's customers are deploying Rational software to guide their software development process.

Forrester Research analyst Carey Schwaber said BuildForge, whose operations will be integrated into Rational, is a well-established vendor with significant market traction. The company has over 65 customers in various vertical markets.

Schwaber said the real benefit for IBM, for which build management was a "black box," is around automation of the software delivery process. In an era of shorter and shorter release cycles for software, this is a key distinction.

"With this acquisition, IBM has validated the build automation space in a way that I hope will inspire IBM customers -- and other companies -- to inspect their build practices," Schwaber said.

The move also helps IBM keep pace with Borland in the multi-billion-dollar market for improving the way software gets delivered to corporate customers.

Borland, which earlier today cut 300 positions from its international workforce, acquired little known Gauntlet in March. Gauntlet's software detects potential problems before they have a chance to impact developers.