IBM plans to acquire retail data analytics company DemandTec in an all-cash deal valued at $440 million, continuing Big Blue’s buys in big data businesses. DemandTec has two especially compelling elements for IBM — it will add to its big data expertise and it’s vertically focused in the retail market.
The dedicated focus should put IBM up against Oracle and SAP, both of which have strong retail software businesses thanks to their own acquisitions. However, DemandTec is an interesting company in its own right, with 450 customers that range from Target Corp. to Unilever. The company helps retailers and consumer product companies set prices based on customer buying history as well as the current contents of their shopping baskets. This real-time analysis of customer buying habits and current inventory is what DemandTec is offering certain clients today, but it also has an eye on folding in unstructured data associated with people’s Twitter streams and Facebook pages.
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