IBM Buys Up Xtify for Mobile, Cloud Push Messaging
IBM has purchased mobile marketing and push messaging company Xtify, and it will join recent IBM buy Worklight on the mobile apps side, and Tealeaf and Coremetrics on the marketing side, Jay Henderson, IBM strategy director for enterprise marketing management said in an interview.

Companies Go Where the Customers are

Xtify specializes in native app and Web push messaging technology, but also offers SMS capabilities, the kinds of mobile tools giants like IBM can’t get enough of these days. Going back just two months, IBM acquired a company called Trusteer for mobile security and fraud protection. Xtify is also based in the cloud, another sector IBM continues to stretch out into.

On the cloud front, IBM bought up Softlayer back in June for US$ 2 billion, a sizable investment that will actually be the new home of Xtify. IBM customers are clamoring for mobile tools that can get their products and services in front of consumers, Henderson said, a case of organizations simply going to where the customers are. They are on their smartphones and tablet devices, of course, a vast untapped marketplace that has turned the business world upside down over the last five years.

Xtify extends IBM’s existing marketing and mobile tools, Henderson said, so there’s little overlap with the company’s other recent mobile acquisitions. Having the ability to push messages out to mobile users is something retailers, airlines and financial organizations are particularly keen on doing, he said.

"Airlines want to send notifications about gate changes, and banks want to send account notices to mobile devices," Henderson said.

Many of Xtify’s customers are in the travel, retail, government and financial services industries, and those customers will also now be brought into the IBM family. That means IBM can sell its existing offerings to those customers, as well as offering Xtify to its own current customer base.IBM Buys Up Xtify for Mobile, Cloud Push MessagingXtify can dynamically trigger content based on visitor actions, a personalization scheme that is gaining in popularity.

Xtify Plays to IBM Strengths

IBM certainly knows marketing and mobile application development, as it’s a market leader in both areas according to analyst firm Gartner. This summer, IBM was featured as a leader in both multichannel campaign management and mobile apps development Gartner MQ reports.

We don’t know how much IBM paid for Xtify, and the company isn’t telling, but we do know IBM’s Smarter Commerce Initiative is quite profitable. Smarter Commerce is the home of the new Enterprise Marketing Management group, itself the home of Unica, Coremetrics and Tealeaf, other large acquisitions IBM has made in recent years.

Those multichannel marketing (Unica), analytics (Coremetrics) and customer experience management (Tealeaf) tools can now be combined with the Xtify technology to round out IBM’s marketing toolkit. IBM says it has over 2,500 customers using these tools, but it’s likely most are only using one or two at a time, and not the full suite.

That’s how it goes with so many acquisitions. It takes time to get everything integrated and to get customers up to speed, not to mention training sales teams on getting the products out there. The question is who will be the company to finally get mobile right?