IBM Acquires Dallas’ Dialexa to Tap Its Product Engineering Expertise

From hanging hula hoops on its ceilings for drone races to designing a lawn-mowing robot app to developing a platform that trains human brains, Dallas-based Dialexa does things different. Now—with its acquisition by IBM Consulting—it will help one of the world's leading tech companies deepen its product engineering expertise.

"IBM and Dialexa's shared vision for delivering industry-defining digital products could be a game changer," says Scott Harper, Dialexa's co-founder and CEO.

IBM announced today that it’s acquiring Dialexa, the digital product engineering services firm based in downtown Dallas’ East Quarter. By bringing Dialexa into the fold at IBM Consulting, the global tech leader aims “to deepen its product engineering expertise and provide end-to-end digital transformation services for clients.” Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“In this digital era, clients are looking for the right mix of high-quality products to build new revenue streams and improve topline growth,” John Granger, SVP at IBM Consulting, said in a statement. “Dialexa’s product engineering expertise, combined with IBM’s hybrid cloud and business transformation offerings, will help our clients turn concepts into differentiated product portfolios that accelerate growth.”

The news rebounded across the Dallas startup and tech world today—even as far as the BioNTX summit in Grapevine, where a woman read the report on her phone and was heard to say, “What an exit.” 

But for Dialexa co-founder and CEO Scott Harper, it’s more than an exit. It’s an opportunity.

Deal could be ‘a game changer’

Part of the Dialexa team at work in the company’s downtown Dallas East Quarter offices. [Photo: Michael Samples]

“IBM and Dialexa’s shared vision for delivering industry-defining digital products could be a game changer,” Harper said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to become part of one of the world’s most iconic companies to continue to scale and grow our global client relationships in this rapidly growing market.”

You’d be smiling, too: Dialexa co-founder and chairman Mark Haidar. [Photo: Dialexa]

“Digital product engineering,” he added, “represents the tip of the spear for competitive advantage.”

Harper should know. Since co-founding Dialexa with company Chairman Mark Haidar in 2010, his teams have worked to bridge the gap between business and engineering in product development—especially through Dialexa Labs, the company’s internal innovation and development engine.

Dialexa delivers end-to-end services including strategy, design, build, launch, and optimization across cloud platforms including AWS and Microsoft Azure.

That’s led to growth. Dialexa now has offices in Dallas and Chicago and a team of 300 product managers, designers, full-stack engineers, and data scientists who work for clients like Uber, Amazon, Samsung, Deere & Company, Pizza Hut, and Toyota Motor North America.

It’s also led to a string of digital engineering successes. 

From lawn-mowing robots to connected cars and more

Dialexa helped Robin Autopilot take its concept from idea to launch. [Photo: Robin Autopilot]

Dialexa helped McKinney-based Robin Autopilot take its robotic lawn mowing services concept from idea to launch.

It incubated Vinli—a car-to-cloud data intelligence platform that turns any car into a connected car—within its own Dialexa Labs. (Harper is now chairman of Vinli.) 

The company also built the platform for ParkHub, which raised around $100 million in January to fuel the growth of its parking tech services for businesses, municipalities, and venues like AT&T Stadium and American Airlines Center.

Dialexa has even helped train brains, by working with the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth on a brain-training exercises platform that weds human learning and machine learning. 

A culture of creative problem-solving

From hula hoop drone races to skydiving trips and movie outings, life at Dialexa isn’t only about work. It’s about being creative as a team. [Photo: Michael Samples]

In its downtown Dallas HQ—which has space in multiple buildings—and its offices in Chicago, Dialexa encourages a culture of creative problem-solving. What does that mean?

“It’s just allowing people to be creative and not keeping such a close eye on ‘How much did you spend on that? How much time did that take?’” CEO Harper told Dallas Innovates in 2020. 

“Having at least some leeway, without formalities and being overburdensome about approvals, giving people some flexibility and breathing room—you’re going to see lots of really interesting things come out,” he added. 

Part of that creativity comes from both working together and playing together. Each quarter, the company drops everything to have a team-building outing. Skydiving trips and movie days are just a couple of things that have brought teams together.

Acquisition is IBM’s sixth in 2022

Dialexa is definitely on the way up. [Photo: Michael Samples]

IBM’s deal to scoop up Dialexa is its sixth acquisition this year, and the first by IBM Consulting in the digital product engineering services market—which is expected to reach $700 billion by 2026, according to an IDC forecast. Today’s news adds to prior IBM Consulting acquisitions, including Neudesic, SentacaNordcloud and Taos.

Upon the deal’s close—expected in Q4 this year—Dialexa will join IBM Consulting, tasked with spearheading IBM’s digital product engineering services presence in the Americas. And at least one Dialexa client is looking forward to what comes next. 

“The Dialexa team has been an outstanding partner for us in deepening our product thinking and assisting in our design practice on some of our key digital initiatives,” said Chuck Rhoades, CTO of Pizza Hut U.S., in the statement. “It’s rare to find a partner with such a strong combination of great thought partnership and deep execution capabilities. We’re excited about the possibilities of bringing these two companies together.”

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