IBM, Actiance deepen relationship to bring cloud-based data governance to Big Blue

Actiance has previously worked with IBM’s Lotus group on specifically IBM-related tools, but the new deal covers IBM Information Lifecycle Governance and encompasses the entire Actiance platform.

Scott Whitney 300

Scott Whitney, Actiance’s Vice President of Product Management

IBM and communications compliance software provider Actiance have announced a new partnership which will see the entire Actiance Platform, including channels not specific to IBM, offered as part of IBM’s Information Lifecycle Governance (ILG) product portfolio.

IBM and Redwood City CA-based Actiance have a previous long-term partnership in place through which IBM Lotus Collaboration resold Actiance’s Vantage product.

“Vantage operates alongside the Lotus Sametime chat program and their Connections enterprise social package,” said Scott Whitney, Actiance’s Vice President of Product Management. The difference here is that we are now also working with a different team inside IBM – the Information Lifecycle Governance team – and that they don’t just want Vantage but all the Actiance products. This is not just our IBM- centric tools but also those for products like Microsoft Lync, as well as our archiving product. It’s a very big thing for us.”

The name Actiance is relatively new, but the company existed as Face Time Communications since 1997 until they renamed themselves in 2011 after Apple bought FaceTime. They always focused on a compliance use case.

“Back then, many regulated industries had staff who used a few consumer chat programs like AOL, but where things still had to be indexed and stored,” Whitney said. “Now we cover over 70 of these channels. An area where we are now engaged a lot is unified chat, which includes things like WebEx and filesharing.”

Actiance does three separate things. Their original functionality was Active Compliance, where they sit between the end user and an application to determine if they should be using it at all, and if so what features they should be allowed to use, with some features like file sharing, or federation controls being limited to classes of users. This kind of feature control is common in financial services, but also in other regulated industries like oil and gas, and healthcare, where the issue is protected health information. The newer use cases are archiving, where everything is captured and archived for either supervisory or ediscovery requests, and analytics, which is run on top of the stored data.

“We offer exceptional breadth, with over 70 channels under management today, and depth, where we preserve the context of the conversation, and can return it on inquiry as a structured conversation that is easy to follow,” Whitney said. “We don’t turn it all into emails.”

Actiance sells primarily into the enterprise, but they have customers with as few as 500 users. Their largest deployment is north of 350,000. While they mainly sell direct, between 18 and 20 per cent of sales go through channel partners.

The new partnership with IBM will let customers capture, manage and archive content from a broad range of social communications channels and collaboration tools. It also lets them do this in the cloud, something IBM wasn’t doing in this space previously. This dovetails with IBM’s broad strategy of making as much of their capacity as possible available through cloud.

“This really accelerates IBM’s transition to the cloud and especially cloud analytics,” Whitney said. “For capturing cloud based sources, this platform is really handy. It also opens up nice distribution channels for us – where customers want cloud or hybrid compliance in those areas where IBM is strong.”

Whitney sees the cloud and hybrid opportunities in this space as inexorably advancing.

“Customers are becoming more diversified with the applications their people are using today, and a lot of them now are cloud applications,” he said. “They also increasingly consider that if their email is moving to the cloud, why should their archiving be on-prem? It really opens up the opportunity.”