Strategic Automation: AI Needs Knowledge Management

Thoughtful & Strategic Automation Team Meeting Recap

40 people from 23 Consortium Member companies recently spent two days exploring “Thoughtful and Strategic Automation.”  Multi-day events like this one are a significant part of how our collective wisdom and guidance moves forward!

Our Dreams Are (Almost) Coming True

Technology is finally catching up with use cases that have been discussed by Member companies for well over a decade! While this is tremendously exciting, the buzz around “AI” has contributed to a hype cycle touting huge efficiency gains, business transforming applications, and need for rapid implementation.

Indeed, Members shared that they are experiencing the following in their organizations:

  • Widespread energy and enthusiasm for “implementing AI” 
  • Pressure to implement AI quickly
  • A major challenge to manage expectations around potential benefits, speed and ease of deployment, and level of complexity in integrating business processes

“Enthusiasm needs resources to get results.”

Joe Lombardo, Connectwise

Forging a Path Forward

Bridging the hype / reality chasm requires realistic expectations, defined use cases, practical approaches, and organizational support, much like any initiative!  After reviewing the history and context based on the Consortium’s work to date, the discussions shifted to iterating on and further developing “a model for thoughtful automation.”

Led by Christina Roosen from Akamai Technologies, the team discussed the development of a charter for AI programs, which focuses on:

  • Use case analysis
  • Rules for AI usage
  • Potential impact of new technologies
  • Incorporation of Human-Centered Design principles
  • Effective communication

Build or Buy AI

Another conversation explored how to decide whether to buy or build AI capabilities. The AI landscape is evolving rapidly with hundreds of solution providers embedding new capabilities into their products. Focusing on factors like cost, scalability, security, and customer experience are important factors for a “Build vs Buy” strategy.  Members are encouraged to provide feedback on the spreadsheet we built, which features suggestions for buying or building per use case!

Triangle depicting the relationship between knowledge management, artificial intelligence, and business intelligence.

Automating Support Knowledge

With so much potential and seemingly endless possibilities, Albert Myles from Red Hat took us through some of the work they are doing to leverage AI in their Support Knowledge environment based on the intersection of three major components:

  1. Knowledge Management:  How content is created through capturing customer questions and answers using KCS
  2. Artificial Intelligence:  The technologies being created to drive user experiences
  3. Business intelligence:  The business processes and associated analytics 

Leveraging these intersections and human interaction, Red Hat has used AI to:

  • Leverage search results and queries to improve search ranking
  • Generate snippets of content based on user prompts to improve relevance for people
  • Create a Knowledge-Centered Service Copilot for workflow assistance, enhance content curation, and ensure quality. 

We can’t wait to hear more about the outcomes Red Hat realizes with their implementation!

Principles for Thoughtful Automation

We had a lively discussion about the Principles for an Adaptive Organization and whether or not they could be applied as Principles for Thoughtful Automation, and we spent some time discussing implications and unintended consequences for AI-infused knowledge programs. We came up with three categories for consideration: 

  1. AI Program Governance, including things like “how do we verify our AI vendors are doing the right thing regarding privacy and safety?”
  2. AI Behaviors, including things like “what are the implications of training the models on content the models created?”
  3. KCS Implementation, including things like “how do we create and impose ‘license levels’ on AI so that we’re confident in what it publishes?”

Members have access to session recordings, presentations, and notes in the Member Only section of the digital library.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on these discussions, and look forward to continuing the work of thoughtfully leveraging the technologies available!


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