Ascential Software's South African customers will benefit from IBM's acquisition of the company last week, says a local Ascential distributor. Centerfield Software MD Julian Field says the deal, in terms of which IBM is to buy Ascential for $1.1 billion, is a positive one for the local market.

"Our customers and channel will be able to leverage off IBM SA's own business partner network and infrastructure," he says. "In addition, with the combination of the two R&D (research and development) teams, I believe the product will go from strength to strength."

However, he does not expect any immediate changes and talks are under way between IBM SA, Centerfield and the channel. "In the meantime, it's business as usual. We will continue to service the channel and our customers."

Chris Barnes, specialty solutions sales manager at IBM SA Software Group, says the acquisition complements and strengthens IBM's information integration business.

He adds that information integration is an important enabler of an on-demand business strategy and the deal, combined with IBM's middleware portfolio, strengthens its position in this arena.

"The Ascential Software technology also furthers IBM's commitment to open computing through its ability to support both IBM and non-IBM data sources, including those of Oracle, Microsoft and SAP," says Barnes.