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How to Stop Dreaming About AI and Start Using It in Your Business

The overwhelming majority of people perceive artificial intelligence (AI) exclusively as an element of Sci-Fi novels. Yet, currently, we observe the rapid development of AI and its further emergence into various business sectors.

Artificial Intelligence offers outstanding possibilities for entrepreneurs of any business branch providing solutions in the widest range of areas: from face recognition and data-driven marketing to maintenance predication and sales forecasting. However, to start implementing AI for a business requires answering a whole lot of questions of the grave matter, such as:

  • What actually is artificial intelligence?
  • What steps do you need to take to implement AI into your business and make it more efficient?
  • How hard is the implementation process?
  • Can AI be developed for small firms or is it exclusively the domain of enterprise juggernauts?
  • And how can entrepreneurs benefit from using AI?

Experts from Infopulse’s Cognitive Lab have answers to these and other questions – learn more in our newest blog post on the specifics of AI adoption for SMEs, startups and large businesses.

Conducting Feasibility Analysis

Artificial intelligence is a human-like decision-making or problem-solving action performed by a computer, utilizing machine or deep learning. Machine learning is the ability of the computer to learn from different data observations and use algorithms to deliver the final analysis results. In its turn, deep learning is based on neural networks and may be applied in the fields of audio recognition, computer vision, social network filtering and many more.

If you have already decided to develop AI for your business, then you’ll need to start with planning. Before leveraging artificial intelligence you’ll need to analyze to which branch of your business AI will be applied: data analytics, marketing, sales, customer support oriented AI software etc. You might be required to reorganize your IT branch and decide on who will monitor the AI results. It’s a good idea to choose one pioneering branch at the beginning to see how AI solutions impact its work. Most importantly, any business owner must conduct the feasibility analysis before making any decisions (the analysis scheme is suggested below).

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Let’s review how AI can be implemented by small- and medium businesses, startups, and large enterprises.

Leveraging AI into Small Business: Does the End Justify the Means?

The cold truth is that the vast majority of small business owners perceive AI as an extraordinary technological advancement that will cost them a fortune. However, an increasing number of IT companies are now developing artificial intelligence software. Availability of suppliers raises the competition and adoption rates, and, consequently, the demand. Since small businesses facilitate economic growth in any country and account to a considerable part of its GDP (approximately 40% for the U.S.), IT companies surely want to make their software available for entrepreneurs who fuel the economy. Thus, the market itself pushes IT companies to make AI technologies more accessible to medium and small businesses.

Small businesses can use artificial intelligence in many ways, for example:

  • Data collection & analysis. Data analysis is crucial for any business type. Even if you receive rather modest amounts of consumer-related information, the conclusions you draw from it could be very valuable. You don’t have to hire a team of data scientists for data processing. Complex calculations, like regression analysis, can be performed by AI much faster than a team of experts. If you use AI to track and analyze your customer’s preferences, you’ll be able to define the strong points of your enterprise and continue to expand them.
  • Efficient accounting & scheduling. With the help of AI, routine tasks can be optimized to improve the performance of your enterprise. The responsibility of day-to-day operations may be shifted solely to AI-based systems, while your employees may focus on more meaningful tasks. This is beneficial for small businesses, since they have a limited number of workers, and redirecting time-consuming tasks to AI helps to use human capital much more effectively.
  • Better customer service. Due to the rapid development in communication channels, the interaction between customers and companies is spiking. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are essential for any small company. However, small companies may have limited funds for financing their customer support. Artificial intelligence technologies in business can assist in client-company interaction via chatbots or virtual assistants and upgrade customer support services. Efficiently developed AI chatbots allow sparing funds and time while gaining a competitive advantage over your rivals. Small businesses can’t afford to finance a team of 24/7 working operators, but AI chatbots can greatly improve customer experience while requiring fewer expenses and saving time. The best part of using AI is that the more data it processes, the faster it evolves. In a while, your AI will be able to deliver personalized answers to the majority of your customers, and they won’t even notice they’re talking with a machine. E.g., in 2017, Infopulse data scientists together with colleagues from our parent company EVRY developed a chatbot for social networks that can be tailored for the needs of our clients regardless of industry. Such chatbots support a wide range of languages with natural language processing and may feature a variety of personalities

Startups are in a way a different category of small businesses. Before we move on to discussing AI for middle- and large-sized businesses, let’s explore some other ways for startups to benefit from AI adoption.

From Ground Zero into a Unicorn: The Advantages of AI for Startups

While the above-listed options are also valid for startups, scheduling and timeframe is another important area where AI could be of help. Startup owners always have a busy schedule and a ton of workload to deal with. What if you forget to do something? Often you can do things later, but sometimes the consequences could be severe. AI can help with better task management and scheduling, and this does not only account for an appointment time. AI is capable to enhance recruiting, manage the company’s budget, categorize and process data, and analyze your competitors.

Budgeting is another important area, which could be enhanced by AI. Let’s face it – a lot of startups fail due to poor financing or budget management – unless they are funded by large enterprises or venture funds. Miscalculations in the expenses costs and revenues could destroy novice company. Artificial intelligence will calculate data with maximum precision, and even make predictions about future profits or losses, helping to detect fraud.

Now that we know how small firms are working their way with AI, let’s see what’s in there for the middle-sized companies.

Making Your Middle Business Second to None with AI Solutions

When it comes to reshaping business with artificial intelligence, middle business owners have larger capital and human resources in comparison will small entrepreneurs, and this broadens the spectrum of areas for artificial intelligence implementation. The steps to leverage AI into medium business are practically equivalent to those mentioned above – middle-sized enterprises may apply AI to the previously mentioned branches (data, accounting, customer support, etc.). At the same time, middle-sized enterprises have a few additional paths of development available for them.

Such new ways may include a smarter hiring process with the help of AI. You won’t have to waste additional funds to expand your HR department. Instead, you may apply artificial intelligence to do the work. You have the chance to set specific algorithms that will instantly filter out unqualified candidates and accept the ones with the most relevant experience. This spares countless hours of CV monitoring and evaluation and helps to quickly find the perfect candidate for the open position. E.g., at Infopulse we implemented a similar solution for our HR department. It utilizes Big Data analysis with built-in LinkedIn-like functionality, helping our recruiting team to analyze the applicants’ CVs and quickly process large volumes of data.

Middle-sized enterprises also have the chance to minimize marketing expenses with the help of AI. They may use AI for efficient advertising via online platforms to target specific customers who are interested in certain products. Data may be collected and processed via different virtual resources, and middle businesses won’t have to bother hiring a squad of marketers any longer.

In the following section, we’ll discuss some of the ways how AI is adopted by the largest industry giants.

Shaping the Future with Evolving Technologies: How Can Large Companies Benefit from AI?

Unlike SMEs, large enterprises have almost limitless budgets and resources that pave the way for endless effective business solutions. Some may even have their own in-house R&D or AI labs. Obviously, regardless of their business branch, large businesses may implement AI in any business area they like. Still, the question remains – how can they make the most out of AI?

To implement enterprise-wide AI and Big Data projects, large businesses may hire a team of data experts, who will not only analyze company’s data but also create accurate predictive models to secure the company’s prosperity in the future. Depending on the type of data, predictive models may differ, and businesses may determine what their future products should do and how they should look like to satisfy the customer. In a broad sense, this means faster decision-making processes, and usage of smart systems to utterly exclude “human errors” from the enterprise.

Another important use-case for AI implementation is Enterprise Cybersecurity. AI may be incorporated to detect potential fraud schemes, even if they are very complex and hard to identify. Not only cyber protection may be improved, but general safety as well. AI-based technologies like language processing, video & voice recognition may be installed on any safety levels.

Summing Up: Is AI Worth for SMEs and Large Enterprises?

Since most SMEs and startups are more or less limited in resources availability, such businesses have to consider carefully areas of AI implementation.

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Small businesses owners might have mixed feelings about leveraging AI for their project, but, in fact, there are more potential benefits when it comes to using AI. Project owners must conduct the feasibility analysis and decide whether to begin using AI or not. Before actually adopting technology for their businesses, it is recommended to opt for initial AI consulting services to determine the potential, scope, timeframes, and costs of such a project. If it seems like a good idea, discuss the plan with business owners or investors and convince them to agree. The process of AI development and integration may take quite some time and funds, but in the endgame, it’s well worth it.

As for the large enterprises, only the sky is the limit for artificial intelligence adoption. Nowadays, it’s clear that industry leaders who implement AI in their business will only continue to prosper and succeed.

In the next part of our AI blog, we’ll review some of the brightest examples of artificial intelligence implementation for various industries. Stay tuned!