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IBM recently announced it has agreed to acquire Oniqua Holdings Pty Ltd., a leading supplier of maintenance repair and optimization (MRO) technology, in an effort to expand IBM’s Asset Optimization Practice.

While IBM has its own asset optimization offering, called Maximo, this acquisition allows IBM to expand into additional markets. The Denver-based Oniqua specializes in several vertical industries, including mining, oil and gas, transportation, utilities, and manufacturing. MRO and asset optimization are technologies that help companies manage physical assets, such as critical equipment like generators, motors, pumps and robots, and items needed for production plant maintenance.

While reducing downtime and increasing operational efficiency are important to manufacturers, the key to this acquisition is how it plays into IBM’s strategy for leveraging the Internet of things (IoT) and, in this case, the industrial Internet of things (IIoT). Tapping into a myriad of connected devices allows companies to gather information in real time about performance and maintenance needs. Harnessing this type of data and using predictive analytics helps companies not only break down silos of information to improve performance, but it also empowers companies to make better decisions. To put the importance of IIoT into perspective, professional services firm Accenture estimates that the IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

"Clients are moving from legacy, on-premise offerings to new cloud-based predictive analytics and prescriptive maintenance offerings. But without instant access to the right data, they are still susceptible to critical equipment breakdowns that can cripple their businesses," said Jay Bellissimo, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation of IBM Global Business Services.

Oniqua customers include ConocoPhillips, Transocean, Anglo American, American Electric Power, Belco, Octa, and BlueScope Steel. As part of the acquisition, IBM Services will acquire from Oniqua a team of professionals with key skills in MRO inventory optimization, data engineering, data science, and predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Rob Goodman is a staff writer at DOCUMENT Strategy. He covers information management, collaboration, and digital technologies. He is a communications professional who has always been intrigued by how technology shapes our world. Follow him on Twitter @rgoodman1.