Top 5 trends in enterprise RAG in 2024

Tomer Benami
May 3, 2024
Top 5 trends in enterprise RAG in 2024
In this article

    Large language models (LLM) are revolutionizing numerous industries. However, for LLMs to deliver real-world value, we need robust and adaptable generative systems capable of leveraging proprietary information––enter retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) systems. This post explores the top 5 trends that will be crucial for building successful enterprise RAG systems in 2024, propelling them to the forefront of AI innovation.

    1. Building production-ready RAGs

    It’s easy to make something cool with an LLM but very difficult to make something ready for the real-world. The transition from a research prototype to a reliable system necessitates features like real-time monitoring, error handling, and comprehensive logging. Additionally, consider scalability—can your RAG handle increasing volumes of data and queries?

    While LLMs have captured headlines with their impressive capabilities in generating human-quality text, code, and even creative formats, there's a crucial gap between research prototypes and real-world applications. This is where the focus on building production-ready RAG systems becomes a defining trend for 2024. 

    The initial excitement surrounding LLMs often stems from their ability to generate impressive outputs on specific tasks. However, real-world deployments necessitate a level of reliability and robustness that research prototypes often lack. Imagine a critical search engine powered by an LLM that crashes during peak usage. As highlighted in a recent arXiv paper, building robust and scalable RAGs requires a focus on enterprise-grade capabilities like infrastructure, monitoring, and logging. This ensures these systems seamlessly integrate with existing workflows and meet the demands of real-world applications.

    • Real-time monitoring: Constantly monitor the RAG system's performance, identifying potential bottlenecks or errors and alert developers before they impact users. 
    • Robust error handling: Efficiently handle unexpected inputs or errors without crashing the system. Implement clear error messages for troubleshooting.
    • Comprehensive logging: Maintain detailed logs of system activity, including user queries, responses, and performance metrics. This data is invaluable for debugging issues and improving system performance over time.

    A successful RAG system isn't static. As the user base grows and the amount of data it ingests and processes increases, the system needs to scale effortlessly. Here's where scalability becomes paramount:

    • Infrastructure: The underlying infrastructure supporting the RAG system must be able to handle increasing demands. Consider factors like server capacity, memory allocation, and distributed processing architectures.
    • Horizontal scaling: The ability to add additional resources (like servers) to the system as needed to maintain performance without compromising responsiveness.

    With advancements in LLM technology and growing industry adoption, 2024 marks a pivotal year for RAG systems. As businesses and organizations move beyond the initial hype and delve into practical applications, the focus shifts towards building reliable and scalable RAGs that can deliver real-world value. This trend emphasizes the need for tools and methodologies that bridge the gap between research and deployment, ensuring RAG systems can live up to their transformative potential.

    In essence, the "cool factor" of LLMs is no longer enough. 2024 is the year RAG systems mature, transitioning from research labs to real-world applications that require production-ready features for long-term success.

    2. Prioritizing privacy and security in RAGs: Building trust in the age of AI

    As RAG systems go from the research lab to real-world applications, it is imperative to prioritize data privacy and security. This focus isn't just a box to check; it's a fundamental requirement for building trust and ensuring the responsible development of RAG technology. Here's why 2024 marks a turning point in this area:

    • Heightened awareness and stricter regulations: Public awareness regarding data privacy is at an all-time high. Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is collected, used, and potentially mishandled. This coincides with stricter data privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) being enforced globally. In 2024, these regulations are expected to be more rigorously implemented, holding organizations accountable for data privacy throughout the AI development lifecycle.

    • The risks of large datasets and data leakage: LLMs are trained on massive datasets, often containing a mix of publicly available and potentially sensitive information. The benefit of a RAG system is its ability to incorporate proprietary and often sensitive data. This raises concerns for large enterprises who want to incorporate a large corpus of proprietary data into their RAG applications. LLMs have been known to not only hallucinate but also leak data due to model memorization of sensitive data fed to it as context from RAG. Protecting that sensitive data prior to exposing it to the LLM using redaction and synthesis techniques is one way of ensuring privacy and security.

    • The need for trustworthy RAG: For RAG systems to be truly successful and widely adopted, they need to be trustworthy. This means ensuring the privacy of the data used to train them, mitigating potential biases, and safeguarding sensitive information throughout the development and deployment process.

    An interesting research project by Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute investigates privacy-preserving techniques for training LLMs. Their approach focuses on anonymizing training data while maintaining model accuracy, a crucial step towards building trustworthy RAG systems. Along similar lines, since our founding in 2018, our goal at has been to enable data privacy in software engineering workflows at companies of all sizes, from startups through enterprises, leading us to develop secure data transformation solutions for AI development. 

    2024 presents a unique opportunity for the field of RAGs. By prioritizing data privacy and security from the outset, developers can build trust with users and pave the way for the responsible and ethical application of this powerful technology.

    3. The rise of query routing for optimized performance

    As RAG systems evolve, we are witnessing the rise of query routing for optimized performance. This concept goes beyond simply throwing all queries at a single LLM. Imagine having a team of specialists, each with deep knowledge in a specific domain. Query routing in RAG functions similarly, directing each query to the most suitable LLM sub-model based on its strengths and weaknesses such as cost, performance, and domain expertise. 

    • Evolving LLMs from generalists to specialists: While LLMs have shown impressive capabilities in handling a wide range of tasks, they often excel in specific areas. Legal documents require different analysis compared to creative writing prompts. Query routing allows us to leverage this specialization, ensuring each query reaches the LLM sub-model with the most relevant training data and expertise.
    • Improved accuracy and efficiency: Matching the right query to the right LLM sub-model leads to demonstrably better results. Imagine a legal query routed to a sub-model trained on vast amounts of legal documents versus a general-purpose LLM. The former is more likely to deliver accurate and relevant legal information, improving the overall accuracy of the RAG system. Furthermore, query routing can optimize efficiency by preventing sub-models from processing queries outside their domain expertise.

    Modern organizations store data across a diverse landscape—vector databases for vectorized data, graph databases for interconnected information, relational databases for structured data, and data lakes for high-quality, often streaming data. Additionally, unstructured data like documents, PDFs, Word, Powerpoint presentations, images, and videos reside in various repositories. In 2024, alongside LLM sub-model routing, RAG Fusion takes query routing a step further. It generates multiple queries based on the original user query, then routes these sub-queries to the most appropriate data sources. For instance, a legal question might be routed to a legal LLM sub-model that retrieves information from both a legal document database and a relevant case law graph database. This comprehensive approach to information retrieval empowers RAG systems to deliver exceptional results.

    Research advancements like the novel query routing framework proposed by Stanford University researchers in 2023 solidify this trend. Their system analyzes the intent behind a query, similar to how a human understands the underlying context of a question. This allows for intelligent routing, directing queries to the LLM sub-model best equipped to handle the task with optimal performance.

    In 2024, query routing is no longer a niche concept; it's a core component for optimizing performance and unlocking the full potential of RAG systems. By leveraging specialized LLMs for specific tasks, developers can achieve superior accuracy, efficiency, and scalability, propelling RAG technology towards a future of intelligent and versatile information processing.

    4. Boosting search accuracy with metadata and knowledge graphs: Understanding the context behind the data

    Vector search is a critical part of retrieving appropriate context to feed to the LLM. It works by converting text and other data into vectors which are numerical representations that capture the data’s meaning. By comparing these vectors, the system can identify data most closely related to a user’s query. With billions of vectors, which is common in enterprise scale RAG, the distance between all points tends to become similar making it harder to distinguish the truly relevant vectors from the irrelevant ones. Imagine navigating a library without labels or any system of organization. This is essentially the challenge faced by RAG systems that lack context about the vectors they're processing. This is why the use of metadata and knowledge graphs is emerging as a crucial trend for boosting vector search accuracy in RAGs for 2024. 

    • Metadata filtering:  Metadata acts as descriptive information about the training data used for your RAG system. It can include details like document type, author, creation date, and relevant keywords. This rich metadata layer allows the RAG system to categorize and understand the data on a deeper level, leading to more targeted information retrieval.

    • Knowledge graphs: Knowledge graphs function as interconnected information networks. Imagine a web of entities (like people, places, or concepts) linked by relationships. By incorporating knowledge graphs into the RAG system, LLMs can understand how different pieces of information relate to each other. This allows them to move beyond simple keyword matching and grasp the true context of a query.

    A recent blog post by Google AI highlights the use of knowledge graphs to improve factual language understanding in LLMs. Their research demonstrates how incorporating relationships between entities within a knowledge graph empowers LLMs to achieve a more nuanced comprehension of the information they process.

    As the complexity of data and user queries grows in 2024, relying solely on basic vector similarity search becomes increasingly insufficient. The use of metadata and knowledge graphs provide the crucial context needed for RAG systems to deliver accurate, relevant, and insightful responses. This trend is likely to continue shaping the future of information retrieval powered by AI.

    5. Embracing the power of multi-modal RAGs

    The world we live in is mult-faceted and multidimensional. The rise of multi-modal RAG systems transcend the limitations of traditional text-based models, ushering in a future where AI can seamlessly process and generate information across various formats—text, code, and even images. 

    • A more natural way to interact with AI: Imagine an LLM that can not only answer your questions in text but also generate relevant charts or visuals to complement the information. This is the power of multi-modal RAGs. They bridge the gap between text-based communication and a more intuitive, multifaceted approach to interacting with AI.

    • Unlocking a spectrum of applications: The ability to process and generate different data formats opens doors to a vast array of applications. Consider these possibilities:

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      • Intelligent design tools: Architects and designers could leverage multi-modal RAGs to generate 3D models or sketches based on their textual descriptions.
      • Interactive educational experiences: Imagine educational platforms that utilize multi-modal RAGs to create personalized learning journeys, using a combination of text, visuals, and even code snippets to cater to different learning styles.
      • Revolutionizing customer service: Multi-modal RAGs could power intelligent chatbots capable of understanding and responding to complex inquiries, potentially using visuals or diagrams to enhance communication.

    Research by organizations like OpenAI, highlighted in their article in Techcrunch on multimodal transformers, is paving the way for the development of multi-modal LLMs, the core component of multi-modal RAGs. Their work on this architecture demonstrates the immense potential for processing and generating information across diverse formats.

    It might still be a bit early for multi-modal RAG, but 2024 will be a pivotal year in its exploration. As research continues and the technology matures, we can expect to see a surge in its adoption across various industries. This trend has the potential to fundamentally change how we interact with information and unlock a new era of human-computer collaboration. Empowering the future of RAG is uniquely positioned to address the key challenges and trends shaping the future of RAG systems in 2024. Our industry-leading products, Tonic Textual and Tonic Validate, directly contribute to building production-ready RAGs that prioritize data privacy, ensure scalability, and achieve superior results through improved metadata.

    Tonic Textual: Privacy-focused data preparation for secure RAG development

    Building trustworthy RAGs begins with data privacy. Tonic Textual tackles this challenge head-on by acting as a privacy-focused enterprise ETL for LLMs. It ingests various unstructured data formats (TXT, PDF, CSV, etc.) and enriches them with valuable metadata using advanced Named Entity Recognition (NER). This metadata not only improves data organization and searchability but also allows for optional redaction and synthesis of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI). This ensures sensitive data remains protected while empowering you to leverage its full potential for training robust RAG systems.

    Tonic Validate: Guaranteeing production-ready RAG performance

    The transition from RAG prototypes to real-world applications requires a focus on production-readiness. Tonic Validate steps in as a real-time solution for monitoring and evaluating the performance, quality, and precision of your RAG systems. It provides comprehensive metrics that enable you to visualize how your RAG systems perform over time, identify areas for improvement, and fine-tune them for optimal results. Tonic Validate fosters collaboration by bridging the gap between technical and non-technical teams, ensuring everyone involved has a clear understanding of the RAG system's performance and can work together to achieve successful deployment.

    Together, Tonic Textual and Tonic Validate empower organizations to:

    • Build RAG while ensuring data privacy: Prioritize data privacy throughout the RAG development lifecycle with Tonic Textual's privacy-preserving data ingestion.
    • Ensure production-ready performance: Leverage Tonic Validate's real-time monitoring and performance evaluation to guarantee your RAGs are optimized for real-world use cases.
    • Improve RAG quality: Enrich your data with valuable metadata using Tonic Textual, leading to more accurate and insightful information retrieval within your RAG system.

    By addressing these critical aspects, is ushering in a new wave of RAG innovation in 2024 and beyond.

    Conclusion: Building the future of RAGs

    These top 5 trends—building production-ready RAGs, prioritizing privacy and security, leveraging query routing, utilizing metadata and knowledge graphs, and embracing multi-modal capabilities—are shaping the future of RAG development in 2024. As the field of LLMs continues to evolve, these trends will be instrumental in building robust, secure, and versatile RAG systems that can unlock the true potential of AI to transform how we interact with information and the world around us.

    Tomer Benami
    VP of Finance and Bizops
    Tomer Benami is the VP of Finance and Bizops at where he brings a blend of core finance expertise, operational savvy, and vision to go-to-market activities. With a proven track record of serving as the senior-most finance leader at companies such as VirtualHealth and Apploi, Tomer enjoys partnering with executive teams, steering organizations towards strategic goals and delivering meaningful results. Beginning his career at KPMG and holding a Master's Degree from the University of Washington, Foster School of Business, he is enthusiastic about the transformative potential of AI while advocating for its responsible and ethical utilization in shaping our future.

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