IBM will soon be using software designed to stamp out casino fraud as a way of improving customer data gathering. Big Blue has acquired business intelligence company SRD for an undisclosed amount.

SRD makes analytics software that specialises in gleaning information about individuals' identities and discovering obscure associations - for example drawing links between someone who is bouncing cheques at five different banks using five different identities.

Originally developed for the casino gaming industry, SRD's Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness (NORA) software can sift through multiple records that might appear to describe different people but in reality are related to a single person. NORA can send alerts when it detects suspicious or positive customer relationships - during a background check of a job applicant or when a high-value customer makes a reservation, for example.

Businesses can use the technology to get an accurate view of individuals and relationships in real-time, seeing associations that previously were nearly impossible to discover, IBM says. For example, companies could use it to aggregate customer information scattered among multiple systems, reconciling slight variations in name or address along the way, to create a single view of a customer.

"The seemingly simple questions of ‘who is who?' and 'who knows whom?' cut across a wide variety of business problems today," said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's information management software group.

SRD's software works with IBM and non-IBM data sources, including Oracle and Microsoft databases. IBM plans to integrate SRD’s operations into its information management software group.