With the rapid growth of unstructured data, enterprises are scrambling to find better ways to access and manage growing volumes of information, both in the office and out in the field. To address this emerging big data market, IBM has been busy acquiring companies and technologies to bolster its data management offerings. Big Blue's latest conquest: Daeja Image Systems, an imaging software company that IBM will merge with its software group and enterprise content management (ECM) business.
The acquisition will enhance IBM's ability to provide customers with instant access to critical information, including archived data, from multiple computing devices such as tablets, smartphones and PCs, company officials told InformationWeekin a phone conference call. Terms of the deal were not closed.
Daeja Image systems "is a relatively small company, but one that's been around for 20-plus years," said Doug Hunt, IBM ECM business leader. "It's been quite expert at delivering viewing capability around content."
Daeja's technology allows enterprise users to open very large documents and images in hundreds of file formats, even if the native app isn't installed on their device. It also integrates with IBM software that masks and annotates documents and images to anonymize sensitive data, allowing users to view and modify "hundreds and hundreds of file types" with their handheld devices, Hunt said.
"Inspectors can modify inspection sheets (and) view and annotate (data) in any type of mobile environment," he added. "Think of doctors and nurses and the ability to annotate content. It's incredibly valuable, and that's the power of what we've done here."
[ Want to learn more about big data in healthcare? See Hospitals In Early Stage of Analytics Usage. ]
Daeja "is really an extension of our user experience platform," said John Greene, program director of IBM ECM products. "It's a collaboration tool that we expect to extend into most of our high-value applications that ECM customers are deploying."
The IBM-Daeja relationship isn't new. The two companies have been business partners for more than a decade, and Daeja technology is currently used by more than 4,000 clients across a wide range of industries to access, view and manage data, according to IBM.
Big Blue plans to integrate Daeja's software with its IBM Content Navigator, a Web client that provides a console for working with content from multiple servers.
"Daeja enhances the Content Navigator ... through the ability to view and annotate (data) in a mobile environment," said Hunt. "It's a new capability to not only view content in a mobile environment, but also to annotate it."
IBM's goal is to provide fast access to critical data via mobile devices in use in the field, on factory floors and in other environments where desktop and laptop PCs aren't practical.
"Everything that companies have put into their enterprise repositories around content, we're now able to expose into a mobile environment with our Content Navigator capability," claimed Hunt.
Mobile computing is the future of this technology, the IBM officials noted.
"Right now, the majority of uses are on laptops and desktops," said Hunt. "But the next generation, and all the work that we're doing with Daeja on conjunction with Content Navigator, is targeted at tablets and (other) mobile devices."
Daeja Information Systems is one of many tech firms, many in the data analytics space, which IBM has acquired in the past several years. These include Star Analytics (February 2013), Vivismo and Variscent (both in May 2012), and DemandTec and Emptoris (February 2012). And IBM recently bought SoftLayer, which operates a global cloud infrastructure platform with a strong emphasis on big data operations.
The big data market is not just about technologies and platforms -- it's about creating new opportunities and solving problems. The Big Data Conference provides three days of comprehensive content for business and technology professionals seeking to capitalize on the boom in data volume, variety and velocity. The Big Data Conference happens in Chicago, Oct. 22-23.