IBM Acquires Tririga; Facilities Management Enters the Limelight

by Taylor Short



Last week IBM announced the acquisition of Tririga, makers of real estate and facility management software. The move came as a bit of a surprise to many in the facilities management software industry. What business does Big Blue have buying Tririga, and why now?

The acquisition was a strategic move to bolster IBM’s Smarter Buildings initiatives. Launched in February 2010, IBM has built a portfolio of applications that helps property owners and managers track operations, maintenance, and energy expenses. Tririga’s software will round out IBM’s current offerings with new real estate portfolio management, capital project management, and energy management capabilities.

The move also pushes IBM towards their goal of earning half its profits from software by 2015. Tririga brings along a customer base of 200 companies, which includes over one-third of Fortune 100 companies, and seven federal executive departments of the U.S. government.

Above all else, the purchase gives IBM a head-start towards becoming the market leader in the burgeoning energy management market. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, energy efficiency upgrades could represent a $250 billion market over the next 10 years. Even IBM predicts their own Smarter Planets projects will generate $10 billion in revenue by 2015.

All these ‘illions are grabbing the attention of major IT players and bringing facilities management vendors into the limelight. Microsoft, HP, Cisco, and many others are making strategic moves to fill their rosters and fortify their offerings. Who will get there first?

It really comes down to who can offer a complete, integrated suite of software tools. Currently, companies have to work with disconnected sources of information. They may have one application to track utility consumption, another to track space and occupancy usage, and another for condition assessment. Companies need the ability to aggregate and analyze data from several sources. They need comprehensive integration of data, or a single view, to make key decisions about building energy performance and optimization.

IBM is close. In fact, they now claim to “deliver the industry’s most comprehensive capabilities that span the needs of all industries for managing facilities and real estate portfolios.” It may be the most comprehensive, but this doesn’t mean it’s complete. As Ameeta Soni, SVP and Chief Marketing Office of VFA points out, Tririga doesn’t perform facilities conditions assessments, which is a foundational part of facility capital planning and management.

So, is another acquisition likely? Yes, according to Danny Sabbah, general manager of IBM’s Tivoli software. The software business, especially as it relates to Smarter Buildings, will be a key focus for IBM. They plan to spend $20 billion in acquisitions of software companies.

Who will they acquire next? Can we expect another purchase in the facilities management market? VFA? Archibus? PeopleCube? Let’s get some discussion going in the comments section below.


1 Comment

I think this is a smart move for IBM. Getting their stuff to be more energy efficient would be a big plus at the time of selecting a good energy efficient workstation for a big company.

Also offerings to track energy consumption in a building is a neat asset to any large company to be able to tweak energy expenses, and measure the real impact of “going green” in the company’s coffers.

All in all, this is a sensible move towards a growing market. A great addition to IBM’s assets and a new set of possibilities for their future.

Comment by EffectiX

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