IBM bolsters business analytics unit with purchase of OpenPages

Software vendor specializes in risk and compliance management

Aiming to expand its business analytics capabilities to support compliance and risk management processes, IBM today announced it is purchasing Waltham, MA-based software vendor OpenPages.

Terms of the deal for the privately held company were not disclosed. Naturally, the acquisition is contingent upon regulatory approval.

OpenPages sells software designed to allow companies to better manage risk and compliance activities across an enterprise through a single management system. IBM said it plans to make OpenPage's software part of Big Blue's Business Analytics offerings.

Risk and compliance management has become critically important in recent years, especially in the wake of increasing regulatory requirements, financial pressures created by the ongoing global recession and more complex business models and networks. IBM cited a recent company survey of 1,900 global CFOs and other top financial leaders which showed that risk management for enterprises has increased in importance by 93 percent since 2005. Further, the survey revealed that two-thirds of respondents report having "encountered material risk events within the past three years." (Haven't we all?)

According to IBM, OpenPages' software enables businesses to develop a comprehensive compliance and risk management strategy across a variety of domains including operational risk, financial controls management, IT risk, compliance and internal audits. This data offers CFOs and CIOs an enterprise-wide view of all potential exposures, helping them determine how identified risks might affect an organization's performance.

Rob Ashe, IBM's general manager of business analytics, explains in a press release:

"Integrating risk management systems across once-divided units and functions is essential to seeing the bigger picture. The combination of IBM and OpenPages will provide a holistic and consistent approach to risk management helping companies combine that insight with performance management to drive better decision making."

OpenPages has more than 200 customers worldwide, including large corporations such as Allianz, Barclays, SunTrust and Carnival Corp. The company has received funding from Goldman Sachs, Matrix Partners and several other venture capital firms.

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