2024 TSIA Interact Recap & State of KM Report Preview

After many great sessions, a few final interviews for my upcoming State of KM report, and numerous casual conversations at TSIA World Interact in Orlando, I left the conference with increased certainty about one topic I have been thinking a lot about lately. Too many companies are still experiencing difficulty in transitioning from AI hype to reality. Case in point: the conference was originally marketed as an opportunity to present the value that companies are experiencing with Generative AI whereas most sessions were still about theory and potential strategies…for the second year in a row.

In the opening keynote, TSIA’s executive director and research lead, Thomas Lah, presented a “tale of two boxes” analogy. He has found that some companies are in a narrow box where they are rightfully focusing on only the best use cases for AI with a good understanding of how to minimize friction and control costs in order to realize serious benefits within 12 – 24 months. Others are taking a wide-box approach by focusing on too many mediocre use cases with too much hype and not enough control, all of which could create some pretty negative consequences.

This is very similar to a “tale of two cities” analogy I am using in an upcoming State of KM report. My research has also concluded that it is the “best of times” and the “worst of times” in artificial intelligence. As a quick preview, I have found too many individuals and organizations that don’t adequately understand important concepts like:

  • Generative AI is relatively novel. Even some of the people who create the frameworks don’t completely understand how it works. This technology can be extremely valuable. It can also be risky and costly. Too many individuals and organizations are hoping for the best without a strategy for value realization. Many lack a risk mitigation and cost control plan. Some are spending immense amounts of money on a solution in search of a problem.

  • Substantial incumbents are likely the safe horses to bet on in the current AI race. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, and ServiceNow have the cash for expensive AI development and processing. Their platforms are already deployed throughout the enterprise for easy activation. Doubling down on these incumbents and the new AI extensions that they offer through either native or third-party plug-ins developed specifically for that platform is likely the easiest and fastest path to value. Smaller niche solutions, including “build your own,” probably can’t compete.

  • The foundations of knowledge management have never been more important. One of the most valuable tasks that any organization can do right now is to clean up your data. Generative AI doesn’t create answers from scratch. It learns from your existing data. Inventory and unify all of your content content. Identify user data that can best help put that content into context. Quantify your most important knowledge gaps and create an action plan to promptly close them. Prepare your enterprise knowledge to be the fuel that turbocharges a wildly successful generative AI program. Otherwise, it’s just another garbage in, garbage out scenario.

Is any of the above intriguing but maybe a bit confusing or concerning? Feel free to contact me to see if I can help.

Back to TSIA Interact, I want to thank the Orlando World Center Marriott executive chef for making a truly fantastic 5-course meal + desert for this good-looking group of industry colleagues. And thank you to Zoomin Software for sponsoring! This is my 30th year of business travel, going back to a knowledge management company that I started in 1994 while still in high school. It also happens to be my 30th TSIA conference with number 31 already being planned for TSIA Envision in Las Vegas. This unique space surrounded by the kitchen for the entire hotel complex with different specialty chefs coming in to describe each of their creations was a super fun treat that is not often experienced while “on the road.”

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