IBM and Spotfire have agreed to combine Spotfire’s software with IBM’s back-end information management, data integration, and computing infrastructure, and have already found their first customer for the united technology in Aventis.
Under the alliance, Spotfire will optimize its DecisionSite application platform — as well as other current and future e-analytic applications — for IBM platforms and middleware, including its DB2 database and DiscoveryLink.
In addition, IBM will co-market Spotfire as a preferred e-analytic application for its life sciences customers and Spotfire will co-market DiscoveryLink for data integration.
Aventis said it would use DiscoveryLink to manage and integrate data from multiple biological and chemical databases and will use DecisionSite to allow its researchers to query those databases and identify new drug targets. The company said it expects this combination of techniques to reduce its drug innovation and approval time from 10-15 years to 6-9 years.
David Butler, vice president of product strategy and marketing at Spotfire, said the decision to partner with IBM was spurred by its customers. “We’ve already got a number of users at Aventis and they were saying, ‘Let’s bring these two platforms together so we can standardize on one just approach on the desktop to data integration.’”
Butler added that companies such as Aventis, who are looking to merge functional genomics data with information derived from cheminformatics, bioinformatics, and other sources, are just beginning to question their data integration capabilities.
Butler said it made sense for Spotfire to address this emerging trend by partnering with a provider of integration technology rather than tackle the problem in its own.
Likewise, Sharon Nunes, director of life sciences solutions at IBM, said DiscoveryLink is of value “only if we have a really good interface for the end user.” The partnership with Spotfire provides an accessible front end, she said, “because people don’t want to read this vast amount of data in tables.”
Both IBM and Spotfire are involved in similar partnerships to integrate their products with those of other vendors. IBM is integrating DiscoveryLink with products from Micromass, LabBook, and NetGenics, while Spotfire is integrating DecisionSite with products from Micromass and Celera.
“We’re really looking at providing multiple solutions because I think the end users never settle on one interface,” said Nunes. “Our multiple partnerships let us deliver what we think is a better set of choices for our end user.”