IBM announced the acquisition of Manta Software for an undisclosed amount. Manta is a leading data lineage platform that allows enterprises to understand their data better.
This acquisition aims to enhance IBM’s watson.x AI offerings, aligning with the increasing need for trust and transparency in AI-based products.
Ensuring Safe AI
As enterprises bring AI into their operations, ensuring data quality and explainability becomes crucial. IBM validated this concern earlier this year with its 2023 CEO Study, which highlighted that concerns about the lineage or provenance of data are the primary barriers to adopting generative AI.
IBM equips its watson.x AI and data platform with a comprehensive end-to-end AI and governance process that applies to the entire data model lifecycle to address the concerns raised by enterprises. IBM’s approach ensures that potential client risks are managed and mitigated directly within watson.x.
While safe AI is built into nearly every element of watson.x, there’s more that can be done. Earlier this month, for example, IBM addressed model safety with the release of its Granite enterprise foundation models.
IBM’s acquisition of Manta takes IBM even further into safe AI.
Who is Manta?
Manta was founded in 2015 around the idea that effective data governance hinges on a deep understanding of data’s meaning and a robust stewardship model. Manta’s platform tackles the enterprise data needs for three primary use cases:
- Compliance with industry regulations, combining lineage and governance for a holistic solution.
- Understanding the repercussions of upstream data changes on downstream applications and performing root cause analysis.
- Modernizing applications by recognizing available legacy assets and deciding which tasks to update first to maximize cost and time efficiency.
The Manta platform provides comprehensive visibility into data flows, sources, transformations, and dependencies. These capabilities assist businesses in understanding the data that powers their intelligent systems.
Through Manta’s data lineage features, businesses can ascertain the validity of the data used for their AI models, trace its origins, observe its evolution, and spot discrepancies in data flows.
The capabilities delivered by Manta enable a modernized data governance and privacy framework – precisely what’s required for modern AI systems where ensuring trust in data is paramount.
AI is already changing how we all engage with our data. It promises to accelerate digital and data transformation efforts. Enterprises that adopt the technology will unlock new degrees of competitive differentiation. But for enterprises to leverage the power of AI, the technology must meet the stringent requirements of the enterprise–this is what IBM does exceptionally well.
Manta’s data governance capabilities are a natural fit with the safe AI approach that IBM delivers across its full range of watson.x offerings. Manta will supplement and extend the already significant capabilities that IBM delivers, further extending IBM’s lead in addressing the challenges of AI in the enterprise.
Manta isn’t new to IBM. The two companies had an informal partnership for more than half a decade, dating back to when IBM was extending its data governance capabilities with its Information Governance Catalog (IGC), before formalizing an OEM relationship in July 2022. That the companies aren’t strangers will undoubtably help IBM quickly integrate Manta’s technologies into its offerings.
Today’s announcement marks IBM’s eighth acquisition in 2023, and the 30th acquisition since Arvind Krishna became the CEO in 2020, mainly focused on enhancing IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI offerings. Strategic acquisitions allow IBM to move fast to build the capabilities it needs to help enterprises safely benefit from the powerful potential of rapidly evolving AI systems.
The acquisition of Manta is a strong one, strategically positioning IBM to address these emerging data and AI challenges, fostering greater transparency and trust in AI systems. More crucially, it further demonstrates just how seriously IBM takes enterprise AI.
Disclosure: Steve McDowell is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. Mr. McDowell does not hold any equity positions with any company mention in this article.