How embracing AI, can help SMEs


AI is here to stay, you will already be using it! How to use it properly is what’s important.

Whether you believe the hype or not you are using Artificial Intelligence in many ways each day – with the auto spell on your Whatsapp, your Google search, asking Alexa to call an Uber, the chatbot conversation you had with your bank and the latest email you received as you’ve not ordered flowers for two months.

It’s here, it’s here to stay and there are many reasons small business should welcome AI in all its forms to create competitive advantage without breaking the bank.

Some examples of

Ai in Marketing – customer specific content, preference and behaviour based.

Ai in Sales – identify upsell/cross sell opportunities, capture leads.

Ai in HR – automatic candidate shortlists, synchronise leave requests.

Ai In Customer Service – automate customer handing and service management.

Ai in Manufacturing – planning for capacity, managing the manufacturing process.

Ai in Logistics – streamline logistics and supply chain.

Ai in Finance – automate reconciliation, auto credit decisions, cyber security. 

Ai in Operations – maximise resource utilisation, business process management.

As the heavy $Bn investments in AI has come from the Google’s and Amazon’s of this world, it is clear that the trickle down is becoming more accessible to the SME community. Mainly as Amazon and Microsoft, to name but two, allow their Ai technology to be used by all, secondly as a plethora of tech startups, innovators and entrepreneurs are using Ai to be competitive and fight on a level(ish) playing field with the big boys.

So, why haven’t SME’s yet fully embraced the potential of AI.

It is certainly not from a lack of hype about Ai – every day I receive multiple emails, see hundreds of Linkedin posts, read many social media snippets and even subscribe to Dubai’s Leader’s twitter feeds of the vision that Dubai will be the smartest city on the world driven by Ai initiatives.

I am sure the first farmers were cautious on how this new fangled tractor invention would be better than a horse drawn plough, or the accountant that saw easy-to-use finance software and thought his career was over.

And Yes, while the agricultural workforce of US has dwindled from 22% to less than 2%, the overall unemployment has decreased from 23% to 4% today – meaning more people are working and they have shifted roles…..and I also know there are more accountants now than ever.

Link to 

  1. SME and Ai is a perfect fit – busting 6 myths about Ai in SME
  2. Breaking down the Ai suitcase – a bitesize breakdown of Ai’s components

Footnote

There are ongoing questions regarding Ai ethicacy, morality and oversight, and those questions need to be addressed today, before the conditions are hardwired into our daily lives. But until Skynet takes over and we humans battle the machines, let us use them to help us be more than we can be without them, and SME are perfectly placed to receive more value from Ai than many others ….and if any of you are thinking, I am not a bot.

After studying Artificial Intelligence with MIT, I can recommend for all those interested a free online ‘course’ offered by University of Helsinki called Elements of AI which can be found at https://www.elementsofai.com

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