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Only days after IBM announced the acquisition of document capture vendor Datacap, Big Blue has snatched Unica (news, site) -- a marketing management developer that automates, manages and accelerates core business processes across marketing channels.

The agreement, which was finalized on Friday, will see IBM (news, site)  pay US$ 480 million for Unica which will be incorporated into IBM’s Systems and Software Group along with its staff of 500.

More specifically, it will be integrated into the Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting organization, on which IBM has spent close to US$ 11 billion of the past five years with the acquisition of companies like InfoSphere and Cognos and more recently, NISC and Initiate.

IBM, Analytics and Acquisitions

The NISC acquisition was originally announced in January and closed in June in a deal that strengthened IBMs hold on the public sector market particularly in health, where it has been expanding its Business Analytics and Optimization products.

Business Analytics and Optimization is the recently developed strategy from IBM of applying advanced analytics to helping organizations predict the likely impact of actions so as to improve decision-making.

In May, IBM upgraded its SPSS predictive analytics tool enabling users to analyze text gathered from social media sources, including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis and RSS feeds.

The upgrade represents a considerable advance in the SPSS Modeler data mining and text analytics solution with abilities that stretch as far as detecting the context of the words used.

IBM and Unica

These and other deals over the past few years have created a formidable analytics business. However, it really hasn’t had a product that could supply predictive analytics for marketing campaigns and in this their business analytics was relatively weak compared to its other analytics components. With Unica, IBM says it will remedy this.

IBM understands the demands on today's organizations to transform core business processes in functions such as marketing with intelligence and automation . . . Unica was a clear choice for IBM based on its power to automate a broad set of marketing capabilities . . .,” said Craig Hayman, general manager at IBM Industry Solutions in a statement.

What Unica Brings to IBM

IBM will also acquire 1500 new customers including Best Buy, eBay, and US Cellular who are currently using either Unica’s  SaaS or on premise software.

And while financially 2009 wasn’t a particularly bright year for Unica, like many other software companies it appears to have turned the corner with its Q3 figures, which were released at the beginning of this month.

Overall the figures show total revenues of US$ 30.7 million, an increase of 14% compared to Q3 in 2009. In particularly, license revenue grew 69% for the quarter and is up 37% for the year to date. It has also continued to expand its subscription-based offerings, which grew over 70% annually.

Unica’s software will now be added to IBM’s InfoSphere, Cognos, and SPSS data analytics software, and its Sterling Commerce, Coremetrics, and WebSphere e-commerce software. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.