Hitachi Vantara this week announced that it intends to acquire Waterline Data, a company that uses machine learning to power intelligent data cataloguing.

The acquisition highlights that there is one thing in the digital space that is truly more valuable than data: the ability to understand it. And with many companies struggling to make effective use of the petabytes they now hoard, Hitachi Vantara’s acquisition is extremely shrewd.

Waterline Data tackles the widespread issue of vast pools of data – often known as data lakes – that lack effective labelling that makes them possible to analyse.

It does this by automating the process of identifying different data types through a technology known as “fingerprinting”, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and classify individual data points within large volumes of data.

This means that companies can easily turn their data lakes into searchable, easy to analyse resources, enabling them to more effectively make use of the data in question, and comply with legislation such as GDPR.

The technology, which is already used in the financial services, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, is designed to be applied on-premises or in a host of different cloud environments.

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Hitachi Vantara to add Waterline Data technology to data services offering

The acquisition will see Hitachi Vantara, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, incorporate Waterline Data’s technology into its existing Lumada Data Services portfolio, which already provides a host of tools for the management and analysis of data.

By adding the capabilities of Waterline Data, Hitachi Vantara is positioning itself as the provider of a leading product in the data analysis space, where enterprises can meet all their data needs within a single product suite, with significantly reduced time spent preparing datasets for analysis.

“Our research illustrates that almost half of enterprise data practitioners are spending more than 50% of their time simply trying to find and prepare data for analysis,” said Matt Aslett, research vice president, 451 Research.

“This acquisition is logical and strategic: Waterline Data’s capabilities are a complementary fit for Hitachi Vantara and its Lumada Data Services portfolio. Adding Waterline Data furthers the company’s ability to address growing demand for products and services that deliver more agile and automated approaches to data management via DataOps: helping enterprise consumers of data ultimately leverage information in a fluid, yet governed way.”

And with data lakes only growing, this is a market that is set to grow considerably in the future.

“Hitachi Vantara provides customers with the digital building blocks, DataOps approaches and industry solutions they need to transform their organizations through data-driven insights,” said Brad Surak, president, Digital Solutions, Hitachi Vantara.

“Waterline Data technologies complement Hitachi Vantara’s DataOps expertise and will become key offerings in the Lumada Data Services portfolio, bringing our customers greater visibility, tighter quality control, improved compliance and better management of their data.”

Read more: “We have a volume of data that we’ve never experienced”: How big data is being utilised in public health