Actuate Snaps Up Nimble Technology

Business intelligence (BI) software maker Actuate has
purchased privately-held business integration software provider Nimble
Technology in the latest of a series of software
acquisitions over the last several weeks.

San Francisco’s Actuate acquired the Seattle-based Nimble for an undisclosed
amount to sew Nimble’s XML-based technology into its server software to make
it easier for customers to construct integrated applications.

Nimble’s platform uses XQuery, an XML-based query engine that transforms
disparate data into business information without
manual coding, to make data integration easier when building Web services
and applications such as enterprise information portals and business
intelligence systems.

Companies such as BEA Systems, IBM and Oracle have been working on XQuery as
the alternative to the aged SQL query language. Applications
and systems that use XQuery, such as BEA’s Liquid Data and IBM’s Information
Integrator, can handle evolving business needs on the fly.

Such integration, coupled with BI software the identifies customer patterns
and trends, paves the way for more efficient enterprise computing. Moreover,
the companies said adding Nimble’s software will help Actuate’s platform to
integrate more easily with a number of XML-enabled systems. With the push
for more hard-line regulations on, enterprises are requiring uniform,
dashboard-like data rendering, which Actuate provides.

Eric Rogge, vice president and research director at Ventana Research, said Actuate is smart in acquiring Nimble because it expands Actuate’s suite in areas where it is weakest, such as ad hoc query analysis, and adds built-in distributed query support.

“It’s not a slam dunk,” Rogge told “They have additional development work to do on top of that, such as adding alerting capabilities” to compete with such market leaders as Cognos or Business Objects. “This space is shaping up to see a handful of suite vendors, one of who’s going to win, but it will be a question of how the vendors differentiate themselves from the rest.”

Speaking of differentiation, Rogge said Actuate makes unique technology such as its E-spreadsheet Server, which allows corporations to serve spreadsheets from a central server to individual desktops and offer a “what if” analysis. Rogge wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whether Actuate would build or buy alerting capabilities, but said additional acquisitions are not our of the question.

The deal comes one week after Hyperion snapped
Brio Software for $142 million and less than two
weeks after Business Objects grabbed Crystal Decisions for $820 million.

There are other mergers pending in the business software space, albeit less
amiable. PeopleSoft, which acquired J.D. Edwards nearly two weeks ago, is
trying to fend off a hostile takeover bid from applications rival Oracle.

Actuate, which competes with Cognos , Business Objects
, has over 2,000 direct customers and 300 OEM partners in
financial services, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and distribution services,
as well as the government sector.

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