Big Blue continues its run at the GRC market. This time with the acquisition of Toronto- based Clarity Systems for an undisclosed sum, while at the same time announcing that the deal it made to buy OpenPages last month is now officially closed, leaving IBM (news, site) clear to integrate it into its business analytics division.

Making the announcement today that it was buying Clarity, IBM said that it would be integrating the company into its business analytics portfolio, providing IBM with some impressive financial governance software from Clarity and business risk analysis from OpenPages.

Clarity Systems and Business Analytics

Business analytics has been one of IBM’s priority growth areas for quite some time now and only recently announced that in that area alone, its revenue had grown by 14% in the third quarter, with CFO Mark Loughridge estimating earlier this year that it would be worth US$ 16bn to the company by 2015. It will achieve that target by building up its business analytics spaces with acquisitions of companies like Clarity, which counts amongst its clients British Airways and WSFS Financial Corporation.

Mark Nashman, president and CTO of Clarity Systems said that IBM intended to take Clarity’s products and offer them to IBM’s established customers who have financial filing mandates to comply with, including SEC and other local financial regulatory agencies.

What Clarity Brings

It does this by automating the process of collecting, preparing, certifying and controlling financial statements for electronic filing, enabling users to integrate information quickly and easily. In fact, with Clarity Systems, organizations can combine financial statements, operational details, commentary, notes, charts and pictures -- virtually an unlimited assortment of content -- into one single document. By doing so, it reduces the risk of errors and late filings.

Clarity Systems extends IBM's business analytics capabilities to the office of finance by enabling . . . businesses automate complex governance processes, improve data accuracy and provide the foundation for addressing a wide array of regulatory reporting mandates, Rob Ashe, general manager, business analytics, IBM

Existing investments IBM and Clarity Systems technologies will be maintained, allowing customers to take advantage of the broader set of capabilities without the need to replace existing systems.

What OpenPages Brings

The other part of today’s announcement, confirming the closure of the OpenPages deal, ties off another, but different corner in IBM’s GRC ambitions. While terms of the deal were not disclosed at the time, and it is not possible to estimate how much it might be worth, none of the deals done recently have been cheap -- the BigFix deal was estimated to be worth US$ 400 million.

Open Pages, which is based in Waltham, MA, makes software that helps companies develop strategies for operational risk, financial controls management, compliance and internal audits, enabling enterprises to view data from different systems to get an idea of a business's total exposure to danger. The company already has quite a reputation, with over 200 clients, many of them Fortune 500 Companies including Duke Energy, Allianz and BP.

The analytics part comes from the software’s ability to highlight any inconsistencies in risk and performance goals, giving enterprises a comprehensive view of the business opportunities and risks associated with new business interests and should complement IBM's other analytics offerings quite nicely.

IBM’s Buying Spree

Both companies are being incorporated into IBM’s analytics division. In the last 4 years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in 24 analytics related acquisitions and opened seven analytics Centers of Excellence around the world. To add to the growing analytics portfolio, it also recently bought Netezza, Unica, Coremetrics and Sterling Commerce. With these acquisitions, IBM offers intelligence into social networks and online media sources as well as the ability to incorporate this insight into their overall business processes and marketing campaigns.

Where this goes from here hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s a certainty that IBM has a way to go before this buying spree ends.