It’s always hard to even guess at what’s going on in the IBM universe, let alone what’s going on with its channel partners. The announcement today by Prolifics that it is buying Atrium is a case in point.

Who are They?

Prolifics is an end-to-end systems integrator specializing in IBM technologies, while Atrium specializes in enterprise content management, and in particular systems based around IBM’s FileNet content management software.

So the two together make quite a pair and, following the deal, Prolifics says it will be able to extend its reach with a wide breath of offerings across the IBM software portfolio.

Prolifics already has a considerable business process management and information management services portfolio and Atrium is expected to play into that.

Atrium has been delivering content management, case management and compliance solutions and brings with it enterprise CMS architects, designers and comprehensive domain experts across the healthcare, financial services and energy & utilities sectors.

With its depth of ECM and IBM FileNet expertise, Atrium continues Prolifics' reputation selling high-value, specialized services and is a great complement to Prolifics' end-to-end solutions and services,” Prolifics CEO, Satya Bolli said of the deal.

And maybe this is where the real value for this is for IBM, even though it is not directly involved. Prolifics and Atrium have both worked together on projects that fit quite nicely into where IBM sees itself in the world.

In December, for example, they got together to offer an e-Government solution to an unnamed client using IBM Advanced Case Management product.

Prolifics and IBM

The project, Prolifics said, involved a large government organization is in the process of modernizing its systems to provide better services to its members. Think "Smart Cities," and who has really put their stamp on "Smart Cities"? Only IBM.

In 2008, Prolifics joined with SemanticSpace Technologies and Arsin Corporation to form the SemanticSpace, which provides application services, independent verification and validation services, and systems integration solutions in the application infrastructure and middleware space.

Keeping in mind the US$ 18 billion that IBM still has to spend on acquisitions by 2015, could this be something IBM is interested in owning?