Delivering AI to the enterprise requires overcoming many governance, compliance, and safety concerns. This involves navigating a complex landscape of challenges that span technical, ethical, social, and regulatory dimensions.
IBM focused on solving the unique needs of the enterprise with the introduction of its watsonx solution set earlier this year. The company then bolstered its AI safety story with the subsequent release of its watsonx Granite Foundation Models. Its focus on enterprise-readiness continues with its announcement of watsonx.governance,, designed to assist business in managing and governing AI models, will be generally available in early December.
IBM’s new watsonx.governance equips organizations with a comprehensive toolkit to manage risk, enhance transparency, and prepare for compliance with future AI-related regulations. It allows businesses to automate AI governance processes, monitor models, and take corrective actions, ultimately providing increased visibility.
IBM’s watsonx.governance is a new set of tools provided by IBM that serves several key functions related to managing and governing AI models:
- Risk Management: watsonx.governance helps organizations manage the risks associated with AI models, particularly those powered by Large Language Models (LLMs) or Foundation Models. These models can pose risks due to the quality of training data, including data scraped from unverified sources on the internet.
- Transparency Enhancement: One of the key challenges with AI models is the need for more transparency in how those models make decisions or generate outputs. watsonx.governance addresses this issue by providing tools and processes that enhance the transparency of AI models, making their operations and results more understandable.
- Compliance Preparation: As AI regulations continue to evolve, businesses must ensure that their AI models comply with them. watsonx.governance helps organizations anticipate and prepare for compliance with future AI-focused regulations. It can translate these regulations into enforceable policies, aiding in compliance efforts.
- Governance and Monitoring: watsonx.governance enables businesses to effectively govern and monitor their AI models. It provides mechanisms for automating AI governance processes, such as model monitoring and corrective actions. This helps organizations maintain control over their AI deployments and ensure they operate as intended.
- Increased Visibility: watsonx.governance offers increased visibility into AI operations, allowing organizations to track and assess the performance and behavior of their AI models. This visibility is essential for making informed decisions and addressing any issues that may arise.
IBM Consulting is also expanding its strategic expertise to help clients adopt responsible AI practices, encompassing automated model governance and broader organizational governance. This includes addressing AI ethics, organizational culture, accountability, training, regulatory compliance, risk management, and cybersecurity threats.
The watsonx.governance offering is part of the IBM watsonx AI and data platform, alongside other products like AI assistants and data storage solutions, designed to assist enterprises in scaling and accelerating their AI initiatives. Additionally, IBM is offering intellectual property protection for its IBM-developed watsonx models.
Enterprises deploying generative AI face significant governance, compliance, and safety challenges. Key issues include data privacy and security, with the need to protect sensitive information used in AI training and prevent data breaches.
Ethical and bias concerns are paramount, as AI models can inherit biases from training data, leading to unfair outcomes, particularly in sensitive sectors like hiring and law enforcement. Compliance with evolving regulations across different jurisdictions adds complexity, requiring up-to-date knowledge and adherence to various legal standards.
Additionally, many AI models' lack of transparency and explainability poses challenges for understanding and justifying AI-driven decisions, complicating accountability in cases of errors or harm.
The new watsonx.governance, along with IBM’s recently announced watsonx Granite Foundation Models, addresses these concerns and helps organizations navigate the challenges posed by AI, ensuring responsible and ethical AI practices.
The broader watsonx portfolio allows IBM aims to enable businesses to innovate with AI while maintaining transparency, accountability, and control over their AI initiatives.
IBM isn't alone in stepping up to help enterprises address the challenges of deploying AI safely and responsibly. Traditional enterprise consulting firms like PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and Accenture all have a range of services to help businesses navigate the issues while leading AI technology providers such as Google and Microsoft bring targeted technology to help solve the problem.
IBM’s broad approach and deep technical capabilities stand nearly alone in its ability to address the full breadth of challenges inherent in bringing generative AI to the enterprise. Watsonx was a complete reset of how we perceive IBM and AI; the company continues to build this credibility, supplementing its stellar technical solutions with the practical tools required to make AI safe for enterprise adoption. I love the speed at which IBM is executing its watsonx roadmap. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
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 mentioned in this article.