UPDATED 11:14 EDT / OCTOBER 12 2023

John Furrier Jonathan Bruce, Alation, October 11 2023 BIG DATA

An inside look at Alation’s new ALLIE AI and Analytics Cloud, driving data forward

AI is on everyone’s agenda, from the bottom-up developers to the top-down boardroom.

Data, meanwhile, is the new value proposition and the new intellectual property. With that in mind, Alation Inc. is launching ALLIE AI, said Junaid Saiyed, chief technology officer of Alation.

“ALLIE is a co-pilot that increases productivity by enabling, all the way from data scientists to data analysts to executives,” Saiyed said.

Saiyed and Jonathan Bruce (pictured, right), vice president of product management at Alation, both spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier (left) as part of CUBE Conversations during exclusive broadcasts on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. Saiyed discussed how ALLIE AI seeks to increase the productivity of AI engineers, data analysts, and data stewards, while Bruce discussed how Alation Analytics Cloud seeks to help organizations measure the business value of their data initiatives. (* Disclosure below.)

Three key pieces for ALLIE AI

With ALLIE AI, the goal is to build upon Alation’s machine learning capabilities to enable organizations to save time and scale data initiatives quicker, while democratizing trusted data and advancing new AI initiatives, according to the company. There are three key things at play here, Saiyed noted.

“It’s got intelligence curation, so users can really accelerate the setup of their data catalog. It actually takes a lot of human effort to set up the catalog,” he said. “But now with some of the intelligent curation features, steward suggestions and the AI recommendation system that we have, we can actually automatically suggest who’d be the best data steward for a particular data asset.”

Of course, the human is still in the loop, but the company’s goal is to help the steward. Intelligent search is also a big use case for a product such as Alation, according to Saiyed.

“A data intelligence product is so that people can easily find and understand the data. We’ve historically, as has the industry, relied on keyword-based search,” he said. “We are now relying on semantic search. We are understanding the semantics of the data and tuning a search to that. That really helps the analyst, the data stewards, the executives, really get to the data even quicker.”

The third piece is an SQL copilot. It’s auto-generating SQL, where ALLIE AI essentially generates SQL based on natural language, Saiyed noted.

“A person, an executive, for example, can ask a question in natural language, and then we behind-the-scenes … convert that into SQL, run the query and it spits out the answer,” he said.

Here’s the complete video interview with Junaid Saiyed:

Building trust in data

In addition to launching ALLIE AI, Alation also launched Alation Analytics Cloud. It’s a unified reporting platform that provides a visual map of an organization’s data usage while harnessing those insights to score its data initiatives and the overall maturity of its data culture, according to the company.

The benefits are grounded on what the catalog was born to do, according to Bruce. The catalog was born to bring together data silos so that organizations can build more trust in their data.

“There’s a nascent advantage of those who have a more mature data strategy, that have been leaning into this for some time, are ideally positioned now to take this holistic view that we can offer,” he said. “Whereby they understand the maturity of the data governance that they have, the value of the data they have, to then apply that in a safe and trusted manner to be able to meet the anticipated and highly excitable goals around what generative AI can do for many of their customers.”

There are those who realize they may have missed the ball, according to Bruce. They realize they have the data, but they don’t have the right level of governance or the right level of insights and aren’t clear on the value of what the data can do for them or their customers.

“There’s an urgency there. Companies like Alation are ideally placed to help, in a more democratized fashion, to bring an organization up to speed, such that they can seriously look at these models,” he said. “If they don’t do so, they’re going to take on a huge amount of risk, and I think there are well-documented instances over the past 10, 15 years where AI has not necessarily had some positive results.”

This is the responsibility at the C-suite, but not exclusively at the C-suite, according to Bruce. What needs to happen is getting to a point where one is able to empower an entire organization to put tooling to good use.

“Many companies have run around talking about how they go for more declarative, low-code type models. What did that do? That democratized, it empowered an organization, empowered huge communities to be able to do amazing things with these technologies,” he said. “That’s ultimately the journey I think we can facilitate.”

Here’s the complete video interview with Jonathan Bruce:

(* Disclosure: Alation Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Alation nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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