IBM buys Cúram Software for social service program delivery

The move improves IBM's government IT strategy and sets up a three-way rivalry with Oracle and SAP in social services

IBM is strengthening its hand in public-sector IT, announcing on Monday the purchase of Cúram Software, which makes applications for use by government social programs. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the end of December, were not disclosed.

Cúram is based in Dublin and has roughly 700 employees. Its products are used by about 80 government-related health, employment and welfare programs worldwide to deliver services more efficiently, according to IBM.

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IBM plans to absorb Cúram into its Software Group division, a process that should be eased by the fact the companies have been partners since 1999 and share many customers.

Cúram competes with vendors such as Lagan, another Irish company which was acquired by KANA Software last year, as well as products from SAP and Oracle.

The latter gained significant human services capabilities with its 2006 acquisition of Siebel and later built on that move with the purchase of policy automation vendor Haley. Oracle also announced the release of a social services suite last year.

Those moves were seen as an attempt by Oracle to compete more effectively with SAP in social services, an area where SAP has long been a strong player. With the Cúram acquisition, now it seems that Oracle and SAP will be caught up in a three-way rivalry with IBM.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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