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With An Eye On The Supply Chain, IBM Scoops Up Trigo Technologies

Trigo's middleware, which helps companies manage product information across a variety of systems, can serve as the foundation for initiatives that leverage RFID technologies.
IBM is extending its reach into the supply-chain market. The company said Tuesday that it's acquiring Trigo Technologies Inc., a vendor specializing in middleware designed to help companies manage product information that's dispersed on a variety of systems throughout their supply chains.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM says it will enhance its line of WebSphere middleware and help both IBM and its business partners deliver to their customers data synchronization and more integrated supply-chain systems so businesses can more accurately share information such as product attributes, price, and location across internal and external systems. Trigo's middleware can also serve as the foundation for initiatives that leverage radio-frequency identification technologies, IBM says.

Data synchronization is a key aspect of an efficient, automated, and real-time supply chain, but it's still not the norm. In a report released Monday, consulting firm A.T. Kearney said many companies still exchange inaccurate product data and often have to resort to manual reconciliations to correct the problems. Companies will need to tackle the data issues well before commercial RFID efforts get under way, according to the report.

In a statement, Steve Mills, IBM's senior VP and group executive, Software Group, said Trigo's product suite complements IBM's. "The benefit to our customers will be in our ability to deliver sophisticated, industry-specific middleware solutions that enable customers to introduce new products rapidly, improve their supply chain operations and customer service, and enhance business performance."

With operations in Brisbane, Calif.; Amsterdam; and Bangalore, India; Trigo has 150 employees and a wide range of customers, including Royal Philips Electronics, Staples, Sony, and Unilever. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. The two companies expect to close the deal in the second quarter.