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July 7, 2022updated 26 Jul 2022 8:52am

IBM acquires Databand to improve machine learning models

Big Blue makes Israeli company its fifth purchase so far this year as it builds out its AI and cloud offerings.

By Ryan Morrison

IBM has acquired Israeli data observability start-up Databand for an undisclosed sum in a deal that it says will help to improve machine learning models by catching bad data early.

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Databand is the fifth acquisition for IBM so far this year, including other AI and observability plays. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

What is Databand?

Founded in 2018, Databand produces software that is designed to help organisations improve the quality of their data. It says it does this by fixing errors, pipeline failures and poor-quality elements before they reach machine learning models.

It is the fifth acquisition for IBM in the AI and hybrid cloud space this year. These include the takeover of Envizi in January, a data and analytics software provider for environmental performance management and Microsoft Azure consultancy firm Neudesic in February.

IBM says its goal with the acquisitions is to strengthen its software portfolio across data, AI and automation in an attempt to address the “full spectrum of observability”.

Poor data costs organisations about $12.9m every year, according to research from Gartner, and could lead to “poor decision making” in the long term if bad data feeds into predictive models used to drive the direction of a company or product, the analyst company says.

Data observability, like the platform developed by Databand, deals with understanding why a dataset or pipeline isn’t doing what you expect.

“You can’t protect what you can’t see, and when the data platform is ineffective, everyone is impacted –including customers,” said Josh Benamram, co-founder and CEO of Databand. “Joining IBM will help us scale our software and significantly accelerate our ability to meet the evolving needs of enterprise clients.”

IBM to integrate Databand with other recent acquisitions

Another relatively recent IBM acquisition, Instana, which was purchased in 2020, gave IBM software that provides businesses with the ability to manage the performance of complex cloud-native applications regardless of where they reside.

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“By using Databand.ai with IBM Observability by Instana APM and IBM Watson Studio, IBM is well-positioned to address the full spectrum of observability across IT operations,” an IBM statement said.

This will include using Databand to alert engineers of missing data, then using Instana to explain where the missing data came from and produce a more complete view of the entire application infrastructure and data platform, which IBM says will “help organisations prevent lost revenue and reputation”.

IBM says it will provide Databand with the resources to expand its observability capabilities and offer a broader range of options – across commercial and open source platforms.

“Our clients are data-driven enterprises who rely on high quality, trustworthy data to power their mission-critical processes. When they don’t have access to the data they need in any given moment, their business can grind to a halt,” said Daniel Hernandez, general manager for data and AI at IBM.

“With the addition of Databand.ai, IBM offers the most comprehensive set of observability capabilities for IT across applications, data and machine learning, and is continuing to provide our clients and partners with the technology they need to deliver trustworthy data and AI at scale.”

Read more: Post-Covid-19 flexibility driving IBM’s investments – UK CEO

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