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IBM (news, site) has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of information management and analytics provider NISC. The financial details of the deal were not released.

National Interest Security Company (NISC), which is based in Virgina, specializes in providing information management and analytics to the public sector, particularly the defense, security, healthcare and energy sectors, and will be integrated into IBM’s Global Business Services.

Business Analytics And Optimization

By buying the company, IBM strengthens its presence in these sectors and gives them a wider market place for their Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) products that provide predictive intelligence to the public sector by analyzing structured and unstructured data.

Business Analytics and Optimization is the recently developed strategy from IBM of applying advanced analytics to help your organization predict the likely impact of actions to improve decision-making.

According to IBM, typically companies manage their unstructured data separately from their structured data (the kind that resides in applications and databases). The solution proposed by IBM is to look at those two types of data in a unified way and analyze them both in order to change the way companies do business.

The development of their analytics capabilities has been ongoing for some time and includes the acquisition of Cognos two years ago and SPSS last year.

At the time of the SPSS deal market research company IDC suggested that Big Blue held a 0.5% share of the US$ 1.5 billion worldwide advanced analytics market in 2008. Combined with SPSS, IBM now holds 14.5% share of the market, trailing only SAS Institute Inc.'s 33% share.

One of the reasons given as to why it would go down this route -- apart from countering the Oracle and Sun Microsystems deal -- was to improve market placement by putting itself in a better position than any other vendor to deliver integrated smart solutions in the future, from physical world awareness to decision support tools.

In practical terms this means reducing the time and proving the ability to process unstructured information including, but not limited to scanned content, e-mails, knowledge bases and service agreements.

NISC Capabilities

And now with the acquisition of NICS it is bringing these products to bear in a public sector market, which NISC is already deeply embedded in. NISC’s expertise includes systems engineering, biometrics, document and media exploitation, systems integration and software development amongst others.

In fact its list of capabilities, it says, includes everything from document and records management, to business process development, to developing information management systems, through to information security.

When the deal is finally formally agreed, after regulatory review, which is expected to take place by the end of the first quarter this year, NISC will be integrated into IBM’s Global Business Services consulting unit.