Aim (Data Solutions)

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Aim (Data Solutions) is a management consulting firm that since 2020 has developed and been marketing a data governance and management, single-platform solution driven by artificial intelligence. The company now gets 70% of its revenue from software licenses although it maintains its consulting, training and support services. Aim is headquartered in Dartford, Kent in the UK. The company has just under a hundred customers so far, UK and international, including representatives from financial services, law enforcement and e-commerce/supply chain. The company is privately held, with no institutional investors.

The software that Aim has developed, dataBelt®, has at its core a number of tools and modules including the open-source machine learning tool Google TensorFlow. It is deployed via a cloud configuration or on-premise and can access data that is cloud-based, on-premise and open source through its open API design. The product can explore data within an organisation using a series of software agents, scanning text, images and even videos and interpreting content. For example, it might recognise the format of a car number plate in an image, or a date format in a data field. It builds up a library of metadata from this process and stores this in a data catalogue. DataBelt® has an appealing user interface with good data discovery capability. The software acts as a virtual layer – no underlying data is copied to a central hub as the indexing process creates a virtualised data lake, meaning that master data is left entirely unchanged. The product also provides the ability to spot potential fraud and to handle compliance with regulatory frameworks such as GDPR.

A related product called dataServe® is a virtual agent that allows a customer to drive self-service adoption. Users can launch a chat with the virtual agent (called AIMEE) and ask questions about the data. AIMEE uses ChatGPT safely and securely but it can use other generative AI products such as Google Bard through its open API design. The model is trained on the data that is local to a particular client and allows users to ask questions in natural language about their own corporate data landscape. This approach raises an issue of data privacy since any answers provided by the AI are accessible by ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI. However, this issue can be circumvented by using the APIs that link to controlled instances in any of the hyperscale clouds such as Microsoft Azure cloud, a controlled environment that is security certified. Similarly, an implementation using Google Bard could link to a controlled environment within the Google Cloud.

Aim’s software competes with offerings from vendors including SAS, Civica and Varonis, as well as, on occasion, Ataccama and Informatica. It is an interesting product that is quite different from established data governance offerings and was built from the ground up to utilise modern artificial intelligence technology, rather than merely paying lip service to it. At this stage, the company’s customers are mainly in the UK, with a few in the Middle East and Asia though further international expansion is planned. For companies looking for a modern data governance and management solution that has some genuinely innovative features, Aim is well worth a look.