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As they navigate unpredictable economic waters, small businesses face the daunting task of balancing their willingness to take risks – to keep that proverbial boat off – with ensuring that their companies avoid the lure of the “trend” factor, i.e., invest too fast or extravagant. into a new resource or technology.
It’s hard to find a more timely example of this fine line than artificial intelligence. In a relatively short time, AI technology has become a natural disaster that businesses of all sizes must consider; from small and medium companies to large enterprises, all organizations are looking for the right approach.
If you’re hesitant to dive into the deep end of an industry ideal for integrating AI technologies, you may find yourself falling further and further behind your peers. Conversely, some companies can quickly identify small ways to introduce advanced technologies without overinvesting; these organizations are able to recognize that their industries are currently only moderately affected by technology. Every situation is unique.
There is no denying that AI has evolved and will continue to evolve at breakneck speed. For any business – regardless of size, service or industry – it is vital to evaluate and regularly review how you can maximize the potential benefits of AI opportunities.
Related: 3 Ways to Drive Business Growth with AI
Artificial intelligence technology is not only for large companies – small and medium businesses are paying attention
Small business owners may instinctively ignore AI technology, thinking it should be applied to larger companies with larger operations. In truth, SMEs can benefit from integrating AI with the potential to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and positively impact their bottom line.
And the most interesting? Entry into this promised land is not gated by the gates of technical knowledge requirements and is guarded by tests designed to identify business leaders posing as software engineers. While it can be a daunting task, the path to feeling the positive impact of AI integration has perhaps never been more surmountable.
The starting point is to understand the basic principles of modern AI technology and the many ways in which it can be used across industries. The next step in the process is to identify the specific needs of your small business and explore potential AI solutions. The exponential rate at which technology continues to evolve and expand creates a natural by-product: easier access to resources that can help small business owners as they work through these steps.
On the subject: small businesses have fewer resources than large companies. Here’s how AI can fill in the gaps.
Development of AI technologies and expansion of available opportunities for companies
It’s amazing how fast artificial technology has evolved in just the past few years.
In 2019, James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited, said that “the business world is currently on the verge of widespread adoption of AI applications, technologies and automated products. when small businesses use AI every day.” He added. “It is likely that AI will become as user-friendly, widely accepted and easy to install as any other software.”
Fast forward just a few years later and the comparison to 2019 is startling. Revolutionary new resources – ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft’s new Bing – are just the tip of the iceberg. The world of the workforce is changing dynamically, and it’s not going to look back anytime soon.
A surprising aspect of this development is the wide range of industries that can now adopt AI technologies, including marketing, sales, accounting, manufacturing, retail, logistics, automotive, transportation, manufacturing, and more. As AI capabilities and applications expand, sectors integrating best practices will continue to grow.
Related: Beware of these 5 problems with artificial intelligence in HR
Modern artificial intelligence and understanding the role of machine learning in AI
It is important to remember that the term artificial intelligence covers many technologies. SMBs may have different needs than large enterprises in terms of size, scope and complexity, but ultimately they are all elements of the same broader category.
Sifted down to its basic definition, artificial intelligence refers to computer programs (software) and machines designed to perform tasks that once required human intelligence.
It is critical to recognize two main aspects of AI technology (as we know it today): its complexity and its inherent capabilities. What we experience as artificial intelligence goes far beyond simple repetitive tasks and other such functions.
Rather, these systems and machines are much more complex and dynamic thanks to what is known as machine learning. This concept is based on the ability of the device to learn and develop, develop thinking and act independently.
Critically, these systems and the machines that run this software can encounter new, unknown situations and react independently. This ability to learn and adapt independently powers an extremely powerful AI technology that is revolutionizing business in amazing ways.
On the subject: How is artificial intelligence revolutionizing small business?
The distinction between reasons for caution rather than skepticism for SMEs
Given the incredible growth and development of artificial technology, the excitement is palpable, and rightly so. The myriad ways in which this cutting-edge technology can streamline workflows are compelling, whether it be by enhancing existing capabilities or integrating new ones.
Given that operational performance is likely to improve as new or streamlined processes are integrated, it’s easy to see how the lure of AI technology can turn into a siren song for the reckless.
It is important for business leaders, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to exercise caution. Small and medium-sized businesses are characterized by more limited resources. The delicate balance between income and expenses is a reality built into their foundation.
Despite the incredible recent advances in artificial intelligence technologies, there are still challenges associated with potential integration.
- The initial cost of technology (system or machine).
- Training requirements (financial costs and man-hours of employees).
- Operational integration issues (new and ongoing processes, company-wide awareness and understanding, impact on customers when applicable).
- Potential need for additional technologies.
- Unpredictable schedule of the whole process.
As with most important decisions, it takes time and research to determine if a particular business can benefit from AI technology. Costs and requirements must be weighed in the near future and in the long term. Will the company be able to cope with the difficulties at the initial stage without seeing immediate results, or is the risk of sunk costs too great?