How Small and Medium Enterprises Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence

How Small and Medium Enterprises Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence
28Jan, 2020

Artificial Intelligence or AI is simply the term that describes a machine’s ability to simulate human intelligence. In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going through a period of significant growth. Various actions such as learning, perception, logic, reasoning and more are now being replicated by technology. This technology has already started to make its presence felt and is forecasted to have a tremendous impact across industries. About 77% of consumers these days are using AI-powered technology, considering that this growing technology is expected to add $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Many business leaders are increasingly turning to AI to cut out repetitive tasks and about 30% of businesses will use AI in at least one of their sales processes by 2020. As predicted by Gartner, AI will recover 6.2 billion productivity hours by 2021 and generate $2.9 trillion in the value of the business when combined with human intelligence.

1. AI for Small Businesses

It is a clear misconception that the AI technologies are only suited for large corporations and are not feasible for small businesses or start-ups. In fact, AI for small businesses has now become an industry reality due to the steady advancement and cost-effectiveness of this technology.

A survey conducted by Vistage in 2018 regarding the role of AI for small businesses revealed that around 13.6% of small-to-medium businesses (or SMBs) are currently using AI technologies to develop their business operations and customer engagement. AI software for small businesses can help to perform various routine tasks effortlessly including answering common customer requests, scheduling business meetings, evaluating customer behavior, etc.

2. Advantages of Adopting AI Applications for Small Businesses

The key scope of Artificial Intelligence is to gain a competitive benefit within e-commerce, manufacturing, human resources, accounting, customer relations, marketing, etc. By employing assorted artificial intelligence techniques such as artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, swarm intelligence-based algorithms, fuzzy logic, expert systems, machine-learning techniques, deep learning, etc., the performance of an enterprise can be enhanced greatly.

The core aim of AI service for medium to small businesses is to provide more flexible, adaptive and interactive solutions as per their customer’s interests and requirements. Some of the key advantages of adopting AI applications for small businesses include:

3. Improved Sales and Marketing Efforts:

One of the most significant benefits of artificial intelligence is a marketing automation system that may implement machine learning to boost customer targeting, construct precise communications, and build conclusions as per their behaviors. Artificial Intelligence tools for small businesses are quite useful for extracting sales-related insights from customer data.

It is estimated that by the year 2020, about 30% of businesses will employ AI in at least one of their sales processes. AI can very well equip sales people to follow-up on leads and improve their customer experience. AI-powered apps will support managing marketing activities across various channels including Facebook, Google AdWords, and Bing. It helps in bidding and tracking entire marketing spends, thereby allowing businesses to minimize their time invested in tracking their marketing campaigns.

4. Automated Customer Service and Communications:

Most customers expect immediate answers to their questions 24/7. Human interaction can be quite expensive and not always an option. However, with the use of automated chatbots or digital assistants that work 24×7 around the clock, small businesses can uplift their customer service and communication and free up the resources required for more critical customer interactions. The Automated chat platform drives better customer engagement, thus increases the chance to attain more revenue and increases retention.

In addition to replying to particular customer queries using a database of perceptions, AI can also organize the customer inquiries. This will help in minimizing waste times for customers who are looking for a prompt response to their basic queries. Furthermore, AI software is a great tool that assists businesses to understand customer needs, determine purchasing patterns and increase the range of services to offer relevant rewards and offers.

5. Improved Recruitment and HR activities:

Among the prominent benefits of AI for small business, AI technology is streamlining the whole employee hiring process together with improving the HR function through employee feedback.

6. Reduced Recruiting and On-boarding Costs:

One of the most difficult challenges that most recruiters are facing today is recruiting candidates who are the right fit for their organization. AI can be quite helpful in the recruiting process. Several businesses are gradually gamifying their hiring process and using interactive games to access an applicant’s personality and cognitive skills.

It’s estimated that these games can save businesses up to 250 hours and $20,000 per year in recruiting resources. When talking about the on-boarding process, it usually takes up a long period of time for small businesses. Fortunately, AI can help to speed up the on-boarding process with the help of HR software to record employees’ everyday tasks and create easy how-to videos that can be shown to new hires.

7. Accelerated Administrative Tasks:

Many businesses are increasingly turning to AI to cut out various repetitive tasks such as paperwork, timesheets, and scheduling. For instance, virtual assistants can help small businesses to sift through thousands of emails and make several tasks much easier.

8. Increased Employee Productivity:

Many organizations these days are providing their employees with wearable technology to track their sleep and exercise habits. This helps in encouraging a healthy lifestyle, thereby contributing to a more productive workforce.

9. Competitive Intelligence:

Earlier it was difficult for businesses to track the strategies of their competitors. However, with the help of AI-powered competitive analysis tools businesses can now easily determine their competitor’s price updates and subtle changes in messaging as well as PR activities by tracking them on various channels including social media, websites and web applications. AI-powered competitive analysis tools together with influential business metrics and natural language processing can offer SMEs an improved insight into the ongoing evolution in their competitors’ strategy, thereby allowing businesses to modify their own business strategy.

10. Improved Cyber Security:

Over the past few years, businesses despite their size have come across a number of cyber exploits, affecting both their operation and reputation. Especially, the small enterprises that don’t have adequate security checks in place are more vulnerable to cyber security attacks as compared to large businesses. However, with the arrival of AI and Machine Learning, both large and small enterprises can protect their data to a great extent. They can combat threats to ensure their data security. With the help of these tools, companies can easily detect any strange behavior, spot the security vulnerabilities and can concentrate on new threats.

Conclusion:

All the above-mentioned benefits make Artificial Intelligence the apt choice for both Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large scale businesses.

As per a study called State of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprises, about 80 % of the companies have already invested in some form of AI today, and 30 % of companies are planning to raise their AI investment over the next 3 years.

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