IBM Acquires i2 Ltd.

September 1, 2011

IBM purchased i2 Group. Founded in 1990 by Mike Hunter, i2 is a widely used content processing and case management system for law enforcement and intelligence professionals. The company received the EuroIntel Golden Candle Award, for its contribution to the global intelligence community. On several occasions, the ArnoldIT team worked on some i2 products several years. The company has moved outside the somewhat narrow market for sophisticated intelligence analysis systems.

IBM Acquiring I2 for Criminal Mastermind Software” reported:

IBM plans to fuse i2’s products with its own data collection, analysis and warehousing software. It will then offer packages based on this combinations to organizations looking to spot suspicious behavior within vast collections of data.

Not surprisingly, there has been considerable confusion about the company. Part of the reason is that the name “i2” was used by a back office and supply chain company. The firm benefited from its acquisition from the low profile Silver Lake Sununu. Silver Lake purchased i2 from Choicepoint in 2008 for about $185 million. “IBM Bolsters Big Data Security Credentials with i2 Buy” opines that the deal was worth more than $500 million, a fraction of what UK vendor Autonomy commanded from Hewlett Packard in August 2011.

i2’s technology is not well understood by those without direct experience using the firm’s pace setting products. One example in the Analyst’s Notebook, a system which allows multiple case details to be processed, analyzed, and displayed in a manner immediately familiar to law enforcement and intelligence professionals. i2 acquired Coplink, developed at an academic institution in Arizona.

The core technology continues to be enhanced. i2 now provides its system to organizations with an interest in analyzing data across time, via relationships, and with specialized numerical recipes.

My position is that I am not going to dive into the specific features and functions of the i2 system. If you want to know more about i2’s technology, you can visit the firm’s Web site at The Wikipedia page and many of the news and trade write ups about i2 are either incorrect or off by 20 degrees or more.

What will IBM “do” with the i2 technology? My hunch is that IBM will maintain the present market trajectory of i2 and expose the firm’s technology to IBM clients and prospects with specific security needs. Please, appreciate that the nature of the i2 technology is essentially the opposite of software available for more general purpose applications. My view is that IBM will probably continue to support the integration of i2 Clairty component with the Microsoft SharePoint platform. Like the descriptions of Autonomy’s technology, some of the write ups about i2 may require further verfication.

We have reported on the legal dust up about the i2 ANB file format and some friction between Palantir and i2 in Inteltrax. Most of the legal hassles appear to be worked out, but contention is certainly possible going forward.

I have been a fan of i2’s technology for many years. However, some firms have moved into different analytical approaches. In most cases, these new developments enhance the functionality of an i2 system. Today we are featuring an editorial by Tim Estes, founder of Digital Reasoning, a company that has moved “beyond i2.” You can read his views about the Autonomy deal in “Summer of Big Deals”. More information about Digital Reasoning is available at Digital Reasoning is a client of ArnoldIT, the publisher of this information service.

Stephen E Arnold, September 1, 2011

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