May 27: From BI to AI (Alteryx, Anaconda, Google, DataRobot, Hugging Face, Informatica, MANTA, Microsoft, Oracle)

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Funding

Data Lineage Platform MANTA Announces $35M Series B

MANTA, an automated data lineage platform, announced that it had raised $35M in Series B funding. Forestay Capital led the round; existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Credo Ventures, SAP.io, and Senovo, and new investor European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also participated.

Informatica World 2022

Informatica Announces Numerous Updates at Informatica World 2022

At Informatica World, Informatica debuted a number of improvements for data management, data analytics, and data governance. New to the fold is INFACore, a plugin for data science and development frameworks to provide data management in data science and data engineering development environments, simplifying the process of composing data pipelines and deploying them to data apps. Informatica also launched Informatica ModelServe, a service to permit users to more easily deploy machine learning models.

Informatica continued growing their portfolio of vertical-specific versions of their Intelligent Data Management Cloud. The IDMC for Healthcare and Life Sciences addresses the need for master data management that provides a “single source of truth” on patient and provider data while complying with HIPAA regulations and significant governance requirements, as well as data quality rules gathered into the Data Quality Accelerator for Crisis Response to cleanse, standardize, and validate healthcare data. IDMC for Healthcare and Life Sciences also supports connectivity to common healthcare software packages. The IDMC for Financial Services complies with financial industry regulations, supports financial industry data standards, supplies a set of financial-industry-specific data rules gathered into the Data Quality Accelerator for Financial Services to process financial data, and provides metadata scanners specialized for extracting metadata from financial data.

Finally, Informatica announced several major partnerships with large cloud vendors. With Google, they launched the Informatica Data Loader for Google BigQuery, a no-code SaaS service that Google Cloud customers can use to quickly ingest data into their Google BigQuery cloud data warehouse. With Azure, Informatica announced a SaaS version of Informatica Master Data Management on Azure, currently in private preview. And with Oracle, Informatica has integrated Informatica’s Intelligent Data Management Cloud with Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Exadata Database Service, Oracle Exadata Cloud@ Customer, and Oracle Object Storage. Oracle, in turn, has named Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and data governance for data warehouse and lakehouse solutions on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Microsoft Build

Microsoft Integrates Power BI Into PowerPoint, Outlook, and the Office Hub; Launches Datamart Capabilities Within Power BI

At their Build conference this week, Microsoft unofficially welcomed Power BI to the Microsoft Office family as it announced significant integrations of Power BI into PowerPoint, Outlook, and the Office Hub at this week’s Microsoft Build conference. Power BI reports can now be embedded into Power Point and Outlook, bringing data interactivity capabilities into presentations and emails, and replacing out-of-date screenshots with live data visualizations that can be sliced, filtered, and drilled down into. Users will also be able to launch Power BI and find and consume related content directly from the Office Hub.

Microsoft also released a self-service “datamart” capability within Power BI. Business analysts will be able to use a no-code interface to build a data mart on top of any data warehouse or combination of data sources that can be centrally managed and governed, without needing to go through IT, saving time on both sides. The data mart automatically generates a dataset ready for report-building in Power BI, and users can find data marts easily in the Power BI Data Hub, Excel, and Teams.

Also at Microsoft Build, Microsoft Azure AI announced two updates to Azure Cognitive Services. Azure OpenAI Service allows customers to implement reasoning and comprehension capabilities for use cases such as code generation, writing assistance, and deconstructing unstructured data. Azure Cognitive Service for Language adds document and conversational summarization capabilities to help surface key information from unstructured data such as documents and contact center calls.

Azure Machine Learning revealed a number of updates. The Azure Machine Learning responsible AI dashboard, now in preview, unites a number of capabilities to assess machine learning models in one pane of glass. Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints allow developers and data scientists to more easily deploy large-scale models; these managed endpoints are now generally available. (Machine learning platform Hugging Face is among the vendors collaboratively announcing their own endpoints powered by Azure Machine Learning’s managed endpoints service.) In addition, new AutoML features include support for natural language processing and image tasks, as well as enhancements for product integration and machine learning ops.

Finally, Microsoft also launched the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, an integrated platform that brings together databases, analytics, and governance. Within the platform, customers have access to four different Microsoft databases, three different Microsoft analytics services, and Microsoft Purview for governance.

Additional Launches and Updates

Alteryx Debuts FIPS-Compatible Version of Alteryx Designer

On May 25, Alteryx announced Alteryx Designer-FIPS, a version of Alteryx Designer that follows the data security and computer system standards specified in the Federal Information Processing Standards. With this announcement, government agencies and other public sector organizations will be able to automate analytics while complying with FIPS.

Hiring

Anaconda Names Shahz Afzal as SVP of Marketing & Strategy

On May 25, Anaconda welcomed Shahz Afzal as the SVP of Marketing and Strategy, to oversee Anaconda customer and open-source community engagement. Afzal was most recently the Global Head of ISV (Independent Software Vendors) at AWS, in charge of go-to-market strategies, data providers, and consulting partners within the AWS Marketplace. Prior to that, Afzal was Vice President of Marketing for IBM’s Hybrid Cloud unit, and spent 15 years at Microsoft overseeing cloud transition initiatives. Anaconda also brought Python thought leaders Russell Keith-Magee and Antonio Cuni on board to support Anaconda as a force for data science in Python.

DataRobot Appoints Former Salesforce CFO Mark Hawkins as Chairman of the Board

On May 24, DataRobot announced that they had appointed Mark Hawkins as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Hawkins has served on the DataRobot Board of Directors since 2021. Previously, Hawkins was the President and CFO for Salesforce, which went public and increased its valuation by over $200M during his tenure. Hawkins brings to DataRobot 35 years of experience leading finance teams within global technology companies including Autodesk, Logitech, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard.