Home / Articles / AI for small to midsize businesses isn’t going away

AI for small to midsize businesses isn’t going away

April 7, 2022

Share:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made great inroads into certain sectors of the U.S. economy. However, it hasn’t reached many small to midsize businesses (SMBs) in a major way…yet.

In 2021, AI analysis firm Unsupervised published a survey of 520 SMB owners that found 48% of them still found AI too cost prohibitive. Forty percent said their businesses lacked the staff expertise to use it. But the survey also found that one in five owners were implementing some form of AI, and 20% of respondents already using AI believed it had increased their profitability.

Defining the term

People sometimes confuse AI with data analytics or the application of intense mathematics. It’s so much more. AI generally refers to using computers to perform complex tasks typically thought to require human intelligence — for example, image perception, voice recognition, decision-making and problem solving.

Several types of technologies fall under the AI umbrella. One is machine learning, which applies statistical techniques to improve machines’ performance of a specific task over time with little or no programming or human intervention. Another is natural language processing, which uses algorithms to analyze unstructured human language in documents, emails, texts, conversation or otherwise. And a third is robotic process automation, which automates time-consuming repetitive manual tasks that don’t require decision-making.

Finding uses

Going back to the survey above, 28% of SMB owners said they were still determining precisely how to implement AI. The answer for your company depends on what you do and which technologies you rely on. Here are some examples of how businesses can use AI:

HR. AI software can significantly expedite the hiring process by soliciting and screening candidates. It can narrow the field and save interviewing time, freeing up HR staff to deal with other issues that require human attention. AI also might reduce the risk of discrimination claims because human subjectivity plays less of a role in the process.

Communications. Chatbots and other tools make it easier to maintain efficient and effective communications with customers and prospects. Specifically, these tools can respond to frequently asked customer service questions, allowing front-facing employees to focus on more targeted or complex issues.

Growing companies can also use AI tools to automate communications with vendors and employees. Doing so ensures the timely delivery of information and minimizes the chance of costly or embarrassing human errors.

Cybersecurity. Every company, no matter how big or small, faces the threat of hackers and ransomware schemes — and the risk has grown only more intense in recent months.

In fact, given the sheer number of cyberthreats out there, and the virtually infinite ways that cybercriminals can vary their attacks, AI is fast becoming an essential defensive tool. For example, through machine learning, AI can devise “classification algorithms” to detect spam and malware.

Analyze the opportunity

AI applications for business large and small is gaining momentum. However, the investment can be significant. Like any technology initiative, an AI implementation project should involve careful research into your needs and the anticipated returns. Contact CSH for help weighing the benefits of any tech upgrades you’re considering, and how to best employ them while managing the change process for your business.

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a Clark Schaefer Hackett professional. Clark Schaefer Hackett will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.

Guidance

Related Articles

Article

2 Min Read

How to end the headaches of SLFRF reporting

Article

2 Min Read

Prudent technology upgrades call for Insightful, Thoughtful Research

Article

2 Min Read

3 specialized IT leadership positions for growing businesses

Article

2 Min Read

How automation is helping companies big and small

Article

8 Min Read

Common-Sense Strategies for Reducing Lead Times

Article

5 Min Read

The Evolving Role of the CFO

Get in Touch.

What service are you looking for? We'll match you with an experienced advisor, who will help you find an effective and sustainable solution.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.