EMC is to acquire BPM content-management company ProActivity Software Solutions.

EMC chairman, president and CEO Joe Tucci said earlier this month that he expected to expand the company's content-management business, along with four other business units, into billion-dollar businesses in the next few years. EMC will integrate ProActivity into its software group, which is headed by David DeWalt, formerly president and CEO of content-management software provider Documentum which EMC bought for US$1.7 billion in late 2003.

ProActivity's software fills two missing BPM pieces in its Documentum software, said Lubor Ptacek, a spokesman for EMC.

It will provide business process analysis, to allow users to analyse and optimise existing processes, such as those that are manual or paper-based. It also adds business activity monitoring features, to allow users through a dashboard to drill down into processes that are already automated. The latter feature is particularly useful for line of business managers, for example, to respond to customer inquiries, Ptacek said.

EMC will finish integrating ProActivity's software into Documentum by the middle of next year, when it plans to ship its next major software upgrade.

This deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by EMC over the past several years. Earlier this month EMC acquired nLayers, which provides technology to help users better understand and map relationships among applications, servers and devices. In May the company purchased data-replication and protection software company Kashya.

ProActivity, of Newton, Massachusetts, also has research and development operations in Israel. This facility along with Kashya's Israeli operations will form the core of EMC's software development centre in that country.