McKinsey accelerates gen AI value creation with Iguazio

It’s been 18 months since OpenAI launched Chat GPT, immediately unleashing a wave of curiosity and experimentation. This work has paid off; early users understand the balance between generative AI’s (gen AI) benefits and limitations, and the infrastructure and skills required.

Yet the short history of gen AI also chronicles countless pilot projects that stalled because they lacked structure and purpose and failed to deliver desired results. Moreover, some implementations of gen AI tools such as chat bots and virtual agents have produced embarrassing—and even dangerous—results. Ambitious leaders are eager to move beyond the “thousand flowers bloom” phase of gen AI. In short, they want to put more science into their data science.

Enter Iguazio, a leading AI and machine learning operations company acquired by McKinsey in 2023. Since its acquisition, Iguazio has been integrated into QuantumBlack, McKinsey’s AI arm, dedicated to driving innovation and experimentation in AI. Iguazio offers a software-based AI platform grounded in data science principles to help organizations develop, deploy, and manage gen AI solutions.

McKinsey acquires Dandelion, a leader in MLOps technology

McKinsey acquires Iguazio, a leader in AI and machine-learning technology

The platform—part of QuantumBlack Horizon, McKinsey’s suite of AI development tools— addresses enterprises’ two biggest challenges when advancing from gen AI proofs of concept to live implementations within business environments. These are:

  • ScalingGen AI operations (gen AI ops) allow for efficient and effective implementation and scaling of gen AI applications
  • GovernanceGen AI guardrails mitigate risk by directing essential monitoring, data privacy, and compliance activities

“Gen AI made it easier to build POCs (proofs of concept), but much harder to move them to production, widening the gap between potential and actual business value,” said Asaf Somekh, co-founder and CEO of Iguazio. “With the Iguazio AI platform, we bridge that gap, helping organizations embed gen AI efficiently into their business processes and applications.”

Used separately or as part of McKinsey’s growing catalog of solutions designed to address function- and industry-specific use cases, the underlying architecture of the Iguazio platform facilitates gen AI adoption. For example, the platform promotes the efficient use of infrastructure such as cloud services and computing power by automating many tasks for engineers. Likewise, AI infrastructure components such as Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs) can be shared across projects, helping keep costs down and make the most efficient use of resources. Code written to extract data could be converted into managed microservices and reusable components to support a wide range of data extraction processes across the enterprise.

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As organizations expand their reliance on Iguazio, additional benefits become apparent, including, for example, the ability to orchestrate and unify the data science process across teams, and centrally integrate and manage data from different sources. The Iguazio AI platform is versatile and can be deployed on-premises and in public, private, and hybrid configurations; includes advanced data lineage, tracking, and privacy features required in highly regulated industries such as financial services and telecommunications; and can be used with a range of large language models.

“When McKinsey acquired Iguazio last year, we did it knowing we could quickly integrate its offering into our core QuantumBlack technology to the benefit of enterprises interested in building out robust—and safe—gen AI functionality,” said Ben Ellencweig, a senior partner. “The combination of Iguazio’s platform, McKinsey’s strategy and consulting expertise, and our gen AI ecosystem of tech partners provides the full range of solutions for our clients as they harness the power of gen AI. If 2023 focused on gen AI pilots and experimentation, 2024 is all about production at scale, and Iguazio plays a critical role in achieving that.”

To ensure the responsible use of gen AI, the Iguazio platform has built-in guardrails at each stage of development  to help forestall risks such as data breaches, biased results, AI hallucinations, and intellectual property infringements. The platform also supports an effective governance framework.

As leaders turn to McKinsey to create measurable and sustained business value from gen AI, they may look back on the early days with a sense of accomplishment at how far they’ve come, even as other companies continue to struggle to get out of the gates.

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