IT administrators who use Altiris Inc.'s software got a surprise today when the systems management vendor said that it had acquired Wise Solutions Inc., a maker of software packaging tools, for about $43 million in cash and stock.
The acquisition will give Altiris customers a full set of products that range from systems management software to software packaging and conflict analysis and resolution.
A lot of enterprises are starting to understand that managing software on the desktop is a single process -- not a disconnected one, said Tim Wilson, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), a consulting firm based in Boulder, Colo.
"Companies have been purchasing tools from Wise, Marimba [Inc.] or Novadigm [Inc.], along with a management package," he said. "Now they can get tools that range from packaging to ongoing management to retirement of software, from one vendor."
Altiris executives said that Wise, Plymouth, Mich., will continue to function as a separate company for now. There is already a fair amount of product integration because the two companies have been working together for about a year, said Greg Butterfield, president and chief executive officer of Lindon, Utah-based Altiris.
Experts thought the acquisition was a good match overall. One Microsoft Windows management expert said that uncertainty about how the marriage will evolve is perhaps the one downside to the merger.
In general, the deal looks good for IT administrators using Wise products. But while some integration is good, too much integration between Wise and Altiris product lines may be a problem for administrators who use tools that compete with Wise, said Rod Trent, principal at MyITForum.com.
Indeed, EMS analyst Wilson said that Wise has established relationships with other software deployment vendors, such as Novadigm and Marimba. Now Wise will be packaging its software with Altiris'.
Since these companies are competing with Altiris on several levels, it may be harder for Wise to get the interfaces it needs to work with all those different deployment tools, Wilson said. "They were a non-aligned company up until this point," he said.
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