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A week after snatching up startup BoxBoat, IBM today announced another acquisition to expand its portfolio of data, cloud, and analytics services. With Bluetab, IBM aims to further advance its hybrid cloud and AI strategy across Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Organizations have turned to the cloud for flexibility as they look to support digital transformation. IDG reports that the average cloud budget is up from $1.62 million in 2016 to a whopping $2.2 million today. Moreover, despite the pandemic, the market for data services continues to grow both in revenue and size. Gartner forecasted the worldwide data and analytics services market at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 14.6%, reaching $232 billion by 2024.

An enterprise software and services company with offices in the U.K., Mexico, and Spain, Bluetab, which was founded in 2005, offers products designed to help enterprises adopt hybrid multicloud data platforms. The startup’s Truedat open source data governance tool ostensibly lets enterprises become more data-driven, while its Fastcapture service uses AI to automatically classify documents and extract relevant information from them.

“The key to solving data challenges for our clients has been the exceptionally talented and experienced team we have been able to build as well as the value-added accelerators we have developed,” Bluetab cofounder José Luis López said in a press release. “We could not be more excited by the opportunity that IBM offers us to continue to grow our team, to build on our accelerators, and to help more clients achieve leadership positions by leveraging their data.”

IBM SVP Mark Foster says that Bluetab’s over 700 data experts will eventually join IBM’s Global Business Services (GBS) unit, where they’ll leverage relationships in the banking, telecom, energy, and utilities industries. It’s a part of IBM’s wider effort to capitalize on a hybrid cloud market opportunity that some analysts say represents $1 trillion in value.

“The outside-in digital transformation of the past is giving way to the inside-out potential of using company-owned data with AI and automation to generate business value and create intelligent workflows,” Foster said in a statement. “Our acquisition of Bluetab will fuel migration to the cloud and help our clients to realize even more value from their mission-critical data.”

Continued growth

Since Arvind Krishna took over as IBM chairman last year, he’s spearheaded a remaking of the company, focusing on revenue growth and investing in cloud and AI technologies. Over the past five quarters, IBM spent more than $1.7 billion on 12 acquisitions — a strategy that’s paid dividends. For every dollar of platform spend, clients spend $3 to $5 in software and $6 to $8 in services, according to IBM.

IBM’s GBS is a profitable enterprise in its own right, with approximately $6 billion revenue in the cloud consulting services market in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, GBS doubled the number of Red Hat client engagements from the prior year to over 150. And to date, IBM says it’s signed $2 billion of business from its Red Hat practice.

IBM declined to disclose financials details of the Bluetab acquisition. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, but the companies expect it to close in Q3 2021.


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