Big Blue buys Canadian middleware provider DWL

IBM Tuesday said it will buy Toronto-based middleware provider DWL, adding to a growing collection of Canadian software acquisitions.

DWL, which also has an office in Altanta, makes

customer data integration middleware and has partnered frequently with IBM since its establishment in 1996. Financial terms of the acquistion were not disclosed.

DWL will become part of IBM’s information management software portfolio and join a new Big Blue division called Enterprise Master Data Solutions. The company has worked with customers in telecommunications, retail, manufacturing and the financial sector and most recently announced customer wins with Staples and Honeywell.

Justin LaFayette, chairman and co-founder of DWL, said his company had started to expand beyond the boundaries of what could be accomplished with small organization.

“We’ve had a tremendous growth rate, but as a 150-person company, we were challenged for resources. We were missing opportunities in other parts of the world and other industry verticals. We just couldn’t get to them fast enough,” he said.

LaFayette said he will become director of product marketing within IBM’s EMDS division once the acquisition closes later this year.

Just last month, IBM purchased Victoria-based PureEdge for its XML-based electronic forms software and to use the company as a base for a new B.C. software lab. Big Blue has bought several Canadian companies in previous years, including Montreal-based Systemcorp in 2004, Toronto-based Think Dynamics in 2003 and Ottawa-based Tarian in 2002.

Since IBM formed its software group about a decade ago, its strategy has been to grow through acquisition, said Paraic Sweeney, and add middleware pieces that can meet the needs of customers with heterogeneous IT infrastructure environments.

Sweeney, IBM’s vice-president of product information management solutions, said that middleware like that from DWL, helps provide the “connective tissue” so disparate applications “can be used in concert with each other and the elements of those applications can be used to build new composite applications in the future. And the whole thing is manageable from a systems application and management perspective. That’s really the strategy we’ve been executing.”

DWL’s customer data integration tool will become part of IBM’s WebSphere line. IBM already has a similar product called WebSphere Product Center — albeit for product data rather than customer data — which can sold as an integrated offering with the WebSphere application server. “We’ll probably adopt a similar methodology with respect to DWL,” said Sweeney.

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