IBM continues spree with purchase of FileNet

Big Blue follows up recent acquisitions with enterprise content management play

IBM last Thursday extended its run of major acquisitions, agreeing to buy business process and enterprise content management specialist FileNet for approximately $1.6 billion in cash.

FileNet’s technology will be integrated into IBM’s existing SOA systems for BPM and ILM (information lifecycle management), IBM said. But primarily, this appears to be a content management play. “Freeing up information contained in content management systems is critical to unlocking the potential of information to improve business processes and performance,” said Ambuj Goyal, general manager of information management at IBM.

Independent analyst Bruce Silver views IBM’s move as a response to competitive pressures in the marketplace. “One factor …  may be increased competition from EMC in content management, where EMC has made major strides in production imaging, enterprise records management, and collaboration, and has integrated it all with BPM,” Silver said.

Upon completion of the deal, IBM plans to fold FileNet’s activities into its own enterprise content management business, part of its Information Management unit, but will continue to support both platforms. The company also said it plans to integrate its BPM technologies with FileNet’s software.

Last week, IBM agreed to buy Webify Solutions for an undisclosed sum, and to acquire MRO Software for $740 million in cash.