Software AG acquires MDM vendor

The move follows similar purchases of master data management vendors by IBM and Informatica

Software AG announced Monday that it has purchased MDM (master data management) vendor Data Foundations, and has plans to link that technology to its portfolio of BPM (business process management) and other middleware technologies. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition is just the latest in a string to hit the MDM market this year, further chipping away at the ranks of independent MDM vendors. IBM scooped up Initiate Systems in February, just days after Informatica moved to buy Siperian.

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Master data refers to entities such as products or customers that are common across multiple applications. Companies use MDM software to make sure this information is consistent and accurate, as flawed master data can cause various problems, such as botched orders or shipping arrangements.

Software AG intends to tie Data Foundations to its WebMethods and ARIS BPM software, said CTO Wolfram Jost. BPM tools are used to design business processes, such as the method by which employees are hired or supplies get purchased.

MDM has value as a stand-alone tool, and Data Foundations will be offered in that form as well, Jost said. "But the real value comes when you integrate MDM with BPM," he said. “This gives us the opportunity to show how MDM and BPM really work together."

Software AG decided to first look for a potential MDM acquisition, rather than develop the technology organically, Jost said. The strategy is not new for the $1.2 billion vendor, which also acquired WebMethods and IDS Scheer, maker of the ARIS tools.

He described the Data Foundations purchase as "a technology buy," and not something meant to acquire market share.

The Teaneck, New Jersey, company was formed in 1998 as a consulting business, and first released its OneData platform in 2003, according to its Web site.

Software AG expects to showcase the planned integrations at next year's Cebit conference in Hannover, Germany, Jost said.

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

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