IBM: Next chapter of watsonx presented

May 21, 2024. At its annual THINK conference on May 21, IBM announced several new updates to the watsonx platform – one year after its launch – as well as new data and automation features. These are intended to make artificial intelligence (AI) more open, cost-effective and flexible for companies. In his opening keynote, CEO Arvind Krishna will outline the company’s plans to invest in, help build and contribute to the open source AI community – a key part of IBM’s strategy.

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“We strongly believe in bringing open innovation to AI. We want to harness the power of open source to do with AI what has been done successfully with Linux and OpenShift,” Krishna said. “Open means choice. Open means more eyes on the code, more minds on the problems and more hands on the solutions. For a technology to gain velocity and become ubiquitous, you have to balance three things: Competition, innovation and security. Open source is a great way to achieve all three.”

IBM releases a set of Granite models as open source offerings and introduces a novel feature in collaboration with Red Hat InstructLab
As part of its commitment to open source the AI ecosystem, IBM has now open sourced a set of its most advanced and powerful language and code Granite models. In doing so, IBM invites clients, developers and global experts to build on these strengths and push the boundaries of what AI can achieve in enterprise environments.

The open source Granite models are available today under Apache 2.0 licenses on Hugging Face and GitHub and are distinguished by their development process, quality, transparency and efficiency. The Granite code models range from 3B to 34B parameters and are available in both basic and instruction-faithful model variants. They are suitable for tasks such as complex application modernization, code generation, debugging, code explanation and documentation, repository maintenance and more. The code models, trained on 116 programming languages, consistently achieve the best performance among open source code LLMs for various code-related tasks[i]:

  • Tests conducted by IBM have shown that the Granite code models perform very well across all model sizes and benchmarks, often outperforming other open source code models that are twice the size of Granite.[ii]
  • Tests by IBM using benchmarks such as HumanEvalPack, HumanEvalPlus and the reasoning benchmark GSM8K have shown that Granite code models perform very well in code synthesis, correction, explanation, editing and translation in most major programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, Java, Go, C++ and Rust.[iii]
  • The 20B parameter granite base model was used to train the IBM watsonx Code Assistant (WCA) for the specialized domains available today. It also supports watsonx Code Assistant for Z – a product designed to help companies transform monolithic COBOL applications into services optimized for IBM Z.
  • The 20B Parameter Granite Base Model has been tuned to generate SQL from natural language questions to transform structured data and extract insights from that data. IBM is leading the way in transforming natural language into SQL – a key use case in the industry. This is demonstrated by the independent BIRD benchmarking, which ranks models by Execution Accuracy (EX) and Valid Efficiency Score (VES).[iv]

IBM and Red Hat recently launched InstructLab – a revolutionary approach to drive true open source innovation around LLMs.

The InstructLab methodology enables continuous development of base models through constant incremental contributions, similar to how software development has worked for decades in the open source environment. With InstructLab, developers can create specific models for their business units or industries with  their own data, so that they too can recognize the direct added value of AI and no longer just the model providers. IBM plans to make the open source contributions available so that  clients can gain additional value through integration with and the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux AI solution (RHEL AI).

RHEL AI includes an enterprise-ready version of InstructLab, IBM’s open source Granite models, and the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform to simplify AI deployment in hybrid infrastructure environments. Read this blog to learn more about Instruct Lab and

IBM Consulting also supports  clients in using InstructLab with their own data. By training and scaling application-specific AI models, the cost and performance requirements of an organization’s business needs can be better met. Read this blog to learn more about how IBM Consulting is helping organizations adopt AI.

IBM introduces a new class of watsonx assistants

This new surge in AI innovation has the potential to unlock an estimated $4 trillion in annual economic value across industries.[v] IBM’s annual Global AI Adoption Index recently revealed that while 42% of large enterprises (> 1,000 employees) surveyed have implemented AI in their organization, another 40% of companies researching or experimenting with AI have yet to deploy their models. For those organizations still stuck in the sandbox, 2024 is an important year for overcoming barriers to entry, such as skills gaps, data complexity and trust.

To address these challenges, IBM is announcing several upcoming updates and enhancements to watsonx Assistants-as well as a new feature in watsonx Orchestrate that will allow clients to create their own AI assistants for different domains.

The new AI assistants include the watsonx Code Assistant for Enterprise Java Applications (planned availability in October 2024) and the watsonx Assistant for Z, which will improve the way users interact with the system and quickly transfer knowledge and expertise (planned availability in June 2024). This also includes an extension of watsonx Code Assistant for Z Service with code explanations, helping customers to understand and document applications through natural language (planned availability in June 2024). Read more on watsonx Code Assistant for Enterprise Java Applications, watsonx Assistant for Z, and watsonx Code Assistant for Z.

IBM is expanding its NVIDIA GPU offering to include NVIDIA L40S and NVIDIA L4 Tensor Core GPUs, as well as support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux AI (RHEL AI) and OpenShift AI to help enterprises and developers meet the demands of AI and other mission-critical workloads. To enable clients to accelerate time to value with AI, IBM is also leveraging deployable architectures for watsonx. This enables rapid deployment of AI and also equips organizations with security and compliance capabilities. These help them to protect their data and manage compliance controls. Read this blog to learn more about IBM Cloud capabilities.

In addition, IBM has announced several new and upcoming generative AI-powered products and capabilities to help organizations better monitor, manage and optimize their increasingly in-depth and complex data for AI workloads. Learn more about IBM Data Product Hub (planned availability in June 2024), Data Gate for watsonx (planned availability in June 2024) and a variety of the latest and planned updates to Read this blog to learn more about these data capabilities.

IBM unveils new vision and capabilities for AI-powered automation

Hybrid cloud and AI are changing the way organizations do business. The average organization today manages multiple cloud environments – public and private – and about 1,000 applications[vi], each with multiple dependencies. They also deal with petabytes of data. Generative AI is expected to drive up to 1 billion apps[vii] by 2028. Automation is no longer an option – it represents how organizations will save time, solve problems and make decisions faster.

IBM is addressing these challenges with a suite of AI-powered automation capabilities that enable CIOs to move from proactively managing their IT environments to AI-powered predictive automation. AI-powered automation will be instrumental in improving the speed, performance, scalability, security and cost efficiency of an organization’s infrastructure.

Today, IBM’s portfolio of automation, network, data, application and infrastructure management products help clients manage their increasingly complex IT environments. Apptio enables organizations to make informed, data-driven decisions about their investments by providing clarity on technology spend and its impact on business success. This enables companies to react quickly to changing market conditions. Apptio can also be combined with the   power of Instana for automated observability and Turbonomic for performance optimization. Improved visibility and real-time insights help clients efficiently allocate resources and control IT spend, so they can spend more time deploying and scaling AI and moving on to new innovative initiatives.

To complement these products, IBM recently announced its intention to acquire HashiCorp. It helps organizations automate multi-cloud and hybrid environments through Infrastructure Lifecycle Management and Security Lifecycle Management – using products such as Terraform, Vault and others. With HashiCorp, clients can easily move to and work with multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Now, at THINK, IBM is further expanding its cutting-edge automation portfolio with a preview of a new generative AI-powered tool called IBM Concert, which will be generally available in June 2024. IBM Concert can be seen as the “nerve center” of an organization’s technology and operations.

Based on AI through watsonx, IBM Concert will provide clients with generative, AI-powered insights into their application portfolios to reliably predict and display potential problems and suggest appropriate solutions. The new tool integrates with clients’ existing systems and uses generative AI to connect with data from their cloud infrastructure, source code repositories, CI/CD pipelines and other existing application management solutions. This allows them to create a detailed view of their connected applications.

Concert enables customers to eliminate redundant tasks and accelerate others, so teams are better informed and can quickly and responsively address and prevent issues before they occur. Concert will initially focus on helping application owners, SREs and IT leaders gain insight into, get ahead of and resolve issues related to managing application risk and compliance faster. Read this blog to learn more about IBM Concert

IBM expands ecosystem access to watsonx and adds third-party models

IBM continues to foster a strong ecosystem of partners to provide clients with choice and flexibility. This is done by integrating third-party models into watsonx, enabling leading software companies to embed watsonx capabilities into their technology and offering IBM Consulting expertise for enterprise transformation. IBM Consulting has rapidly expanded its global generative AI expertise and has more than 50,000 certified professionals for IBM and strategic partner technologies. Our ecosystem of large and small partners helps clients adopt and scale customized AI in their organizations.

  • AWS: IBM and AWS are working together to bring Amazon SageMaker and watsonx.governance together on AWS. This product is available immediately and equips Amazon SageMaker customers with advanced AI governance capabilities for their predictive machine learning and generative AI models. Customers can now govern, monitor and manage their models across platforms, simplifying risk management and compliance processes for their AI activities.
  • Adobe:  IBM and Adobe are collaborating on hybrid cloud and AI by bringing Red Hat OpenShift and watsonx to the Adobe Experience Platform and exploring offering and the Adobe Acrobat AI Assistant as an on-prem and private cloud solution. IBM is also launching a new consulting service to drive customer adoption of Adobe Express. These features are expected to be available in the second half of 2024.
  • Meta: IBM has announced the availability of Meta Llama 3 – the next generation of Meta’s open language model – on watsonx to support organizations on their innovation journey to AI. The launch of Llama 3 builds on IBM and Meta’s collaboration to drive open innovation for AI. The two companies launched the AI Alliance – a group of leading organizations from industry, startups, academia, research and government – late last year, which has now grown to more than 100 members and collaborators.
  • Microsoft: IBM announced that the watsonx AI and data platform will be supported by IBM to run on Microsoft Azure. This is available through IBM and our business partner ecosystem as a customer-managed solution on Azure Red Hat OpenShift (ARO).
  • Mistral: IBM intends to , enter into a new strategic partnership with Mistral AI to bring the latest commercial models to the watsonx platform. This includes the leading Mistral Large model, which the company plans to make available in Q2 2020. The collaboration with Mistral is also about AI based on open innovation, building on both companies’ work in the open source community.
  • Palo Alto Networks: IBM has expanded its partnership with Palo Alto to jointly deliver AI-powered security offerings and various initiatives to improve security outcomes for clients. For more, read the full press release.
  • Salesforce: IBM and Salesforce plan to make the IBM Granite suite of models available for the Salesforce Einstein 1 platform later this year to give clients access to more models to improve decision making for AI CRM use cases.
  • SAP: IBM Consulting and SAP are also working together to find ways to help more clients accelerate their cloud projects and leverage RISE with SAP to realize the benefits of generative AI for business operations in the cloud. This endeavor is intended to expand IBM and SAP’s collaboration in embedding IBM Watson AI technology into SAP solutions. As part of this initiative with SAP, the IBM Granite Model Series will be accessible for use across the SAP portfolio of cloud solutions and applications, underpinned by the generative AI hub in SAP AI Core.
  • SDAIA: IBM has launched the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority’s (SDAIA) Arabic model “ALLaM” on watsonx, adding new language capabilities to the platform, including the ability to understand multiple Arabic dialects.

The following are recent testimonials from IBM clients and partners:

Broadridge Financial: Using generative AI to transform financial services

“As a trusted global technology partner at the intersection of financial services, the sustainability and evolution of applications is critical to our business strategy. This allows us to securely and confidently leverage new technologies and provide our clients with advanced services that help them work better, innovate and grow,” said Tyler Derr, CTO, Broadridge Financial Solutions. “In collaboration with IBM, we are looking for ways to leverage AI to improve developer experience and productivity, and support the understanding and documentation of our existing environments.”

Casper Labs: Responsible AI scaling with blockchain-powered data governance solution

“Trusted data is key to realizing the full potential of AI, especially in the current regulatory climate,” said Mrinal Manohar, CEO, Casper Labs. “Without visibility into data flows, companies face unacceptable risks, including the overlap of intellectual property and unnecessary data sharing across organizational boundaries. As an ecosystem partner, we are working with IBM Consulting to develop Prove AI, a blockchain-enabled governance solution that couples our tamper-proof, highly serialized ledger with IBM watsonx.governance. The aim is to provide organizations with an end-to-end AI and data management platform that can protect sensitive data and ensure version control.”

Department for Work and Pensions: transforming service delivery with generative AI

“As the UK’s largest public service agency, we are harnessing the power of generative AI to positively impact the lives of the millions of citizens we serve every day,” said Rich Corbridge, Director General and Chief Digital Information Officer, Department for Work and Pensions. “Our collaboration with IBM is helping us to identify and test the most promising AI use cases, build a robust partner ecosystem, develop innovative governance and risk management approaches, and cultivate the skills needed to successfully scale generative AI across the Department.” He added: “At the heart of our approach are human values, while maintaining a forward-looking focus. Our focus is on developing simplified, reusable components, which we are developing as part of our partnership with IBM. Together, DWP and IBM are transforming the supporting systems that the UK’s most vulnerable people deal with every day.”

Dun & Bradstreet: AI adoption with trusted data and co-developed solutions

“Organizations need partners who can help them adopt AI, which starts with trusted data,” said Gary Kotovets, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Dun & Bradstreet. “We are bringing together Dun & Bradstreet’s nearly 300 years of experience and IBM to develop generative AI solutions that leverage the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud and IBM watsonx to drive the adoption of generative AI, starting with Ask Procurement. By leveraging IBM watsonx, D&B Ask Procurement simplifies, accelerates and reduces the cost of certain key procurement decisions. Ask Procurement is just one of many examples of how together we can help clients achieve savings, optimize business processes and improve risk management with generative AI and reliable data.”

Elevance Health: An AI-powered, digital experience for healthcare customer service

“Elevance Health’s mission is to improve the health of humanity. We have the privilege of serving more than 117 million people. We are committed to making healthcare more proactive, predictive and personalized,” said Kumar Gudavalli, Tech Strategy Lead & Chief Architect, Elevance Health. “Our long-standing and trusted relationship with IBM Consulting and the capabilities of IBM watsonx Assistant have helped us deliver both great member and provider experiences and strong business outcomes. By introducing an AI-powered digital-first experience, we were able to convert a third of interactions to messaging. In addition, AI is handling complex healthcare interactions with 60% effectiveness, while we are achieving much higher customer satisfaction and first contact resolution.”

Medtronic: IBM, Microsoft and Medtronic drive AI-powered automation

“We are fortunate to live in a time of almost limitless potential where we can immediately benefit from collaboration. Together with IBM and Microsoft, we are transforming challenges into breakthrough analytics solutions and setting new industry standards through innovation and excellence,” said Luciano Miranda, Vice President, Advanced Analytics Global Operations & Supply Chain at Medtronic.

Sevilla FC: Novel scouting with AI-powered insights

“At Sevilla FC, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation in soccer, and our collaboration with IBM is a testament to that commitment,” said José María del Nido Carrasco, President of Sevilla FC. “Our team of more than 20 experienced scouts, former players and coaches, has amassed a treasure trove of 400,000 match reports and 200,000 scouting notes. With IBM watsonx, we can now unlock the full potential of this data and combine human insight with AI-powered analytics to make more informed, data-driven recruiting decisions. This groundbreaking collaboration with IBM is a bold step into the future of soccer scouting.

Virgin Money wins “Best Application of AI in Financial Services”

“A year ago, we launched Redi, our AI-powered virtual assistant from Microsoft. We’re thrilled that over a million of our credit card customers are using this innovative technology,” said Adam Paice, Head of Digital, Proposition Virgin Money. “Our customers rave about their interaction with Redi in our credit card app. We believe this is because we are creating digital experiences for them that are as useful as they are fun. Working with IBM Consulting has helped us realize the full potential of generative AI and find the perfect balance between innovation and control.”

Westfield Insurance increased developer productivity by 80% during the pilot

“As a leading provider of property and casualty insurance, we rely on advanced technology to balance ever-changing regulations and economic uncertainty. Our goal is to meet our customers’ expectations while navigating this complexity,” says Don Hurrle, IT Infrastructure, AI, and Agile Transformation Leader, Westfield Insurance. “During an eight-week pilot with IBM, we deployed watsonx in the IBM Cloud to simplify code explanation and documentation, reducing the time it takes a developer to understand an application by 80%. This significant time saving allows our developers to focus on higher value tasks and improve overall productivity. IBM watsonx Code Assistant for Z also accelerated application understanding by performing analysis, generating reports and identifying the impact of code changes.”

Statements about IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and intentions only.

Information about IBM

IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud and AI and consulting expertise. We help clients in more than 175 countries harness insights from their data, optimize business processes, reduce costs and gain competitive advantage in their industries. More than 4,000 government and enterprise organizations in critical infrastructure sectors such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to make their digital transformation fast, efficient and secure. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and consulting provide our clients with open and flexible options. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, accountability, inclusion and service. Visit for more information.

[i] IBM. “Granite Code Models: A Family of Open Foundation Models for Code Intelligence”
[ii] IBM. “Granite Code Models: A Family of Open Foundation Models for Code Intelligence”
[iii] IBM. “Granite Code Models: A Family of Open Foundation Models for Code Intelligence”
[iv] For data-centric enterprise workloads, generating SQL from natural language questions is one of the most important and challenging code generation tasks. As of May 14, 2024, IBM Granite-based models achieved the highest accuracy and efficiency scores in the BIg Bench for LaRge-scale Database Grounded Text-to-SQL Evaluation (BIRD) rankings for text-to-SQL generation, underscoring IBM’s leadership in this important enterprise use case.
[v] McKinsey. “The Economic Potential of Generative AI.”
[vi] Salesforce. “Third Edition State of IT Report.”
[vii] IDC: Gary Chen, Jim Mercer. “1 Billion New Logical Applications: More Background.”

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Further links


Graphic: IBM

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