What are the advantages of AI for smaller firms and how do entrepreneurs adopt this technology?
A quick glance at the most recent headlines -- self-driving automobiles cashier-less grocery shops will leave no doubt that we've arrived in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). While big tech shifts have traditionally yielded significant benefits to large companies who can manage the infrastructure, I believe that the age of AI will perform differently.
In this era, nimble, more adaptable modest companies are poised to reap advantages in equivalent and frequently greater proportion to big businesses -- despite their deep pockets and information goldmines.
To discover how small businesses are really adapting in the age of AI, the company, Intuit, recently partnered with Emergent Research to research U.S. based small business owners and managers regarding their attitudes toward automation technology. We found that small companies are not reeling or playing catch up to the international giants. Rather, they're on the front lines in loving this new era. Listed below are a few data points from the survey:
66% are already using some form of automation within their small business, and overwhelmingly positive attitudes imply that small businesses will continue to be bullish on adopting automation in recent decades ahead.
54% stated they see automation as a chance, despite the reports and headlines claiming automation has "tumultuous" influence on business and employment, only 5% stated that they view automation technologies as a severe threat to their business enterprise.
1% said that they believed important labor reductions were imminent because of automation technology - dispelling the myth that small business owners are fearful of producing an effect on "mom and pop" jobs.
Plug-in tools and services have removed barriers for deploying AI, bringing the technical ability of automation to even the smallest of businesses.
Take, for instance, Future Glory, a San Francisco-based maker of socially aware handcrafted leather purses and accessories. Founder Theresa Lee relies on Quick Books integration with Shopify and PayPal to automate all of the trade information into the financial management product to guarantee real-time and accurate reporting, and provide more time back to the design process (Disclaimer: my company manufactures QuickBooks). Lee spends less than 20 minutes per day on numbers, so she can concentrate on the heart of her company -- creating unique leather-crafts.
San Jose-based P3iD Cloud is a little business that is helping to level the playing area when it comes to automation. The company's offering, P3iD Cloud Quick-books Receipt, scans receipts, then mechanically extracts and classifies the receipts directly into Quick-books. Creator Kevin Neal says this simple tool helps decrease or eliminate wasted labor costs associated with manual data entry of company travel receipts normally rescue workers just two to three hours per trip.
The poll revealed automation's functional benefits to be the most appreciated with little business proprietor: "freeing up time for work done" (79%) and also "assisting with customer support (77%)" were the best benefits cited.
If you are amongst the many small companies looking to execute some form of automation technologies this season, keep these three tips in mind:
Take cloud into consideration
Transferring your system out of on-premise servers into cloud services like Google Apps, for instance, is a necessary first step in embracing automation. Despite the positive attitudes, many small companies are still not set up to make the most of automation: nearly 1 in 5 are not employing the cloud. Doing this will put you on the perfect course toward automation, while also saving you cash.
Support smart platforms
Big data (24%), natural language processing (17%), and machine learning (12%) were ranked as the top kinds of goods in use in our survey. Fortunately, gaining entry to these no more necessitates a data warehouse, big budget, or a significant infrastructure overhaul.
Now, the most innovative automation technologies are easily accessible to small companies via cheap third-party applications which plug a provider's work flow and data to AI and server learning-powered platforms. Intelligent platforms like Quick-books, as an instance, bring together more data than anyone business, meaning the smallest company is now able to compete at a scale around the globe.
Hone your specialties.
In a world full of products such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, the market products, and services provided by small companies will take much more weight in consumer value. Permit automation to improve your business on the back-end, so you're able to focus on nurturing what's always made your little business unique on the front-end (like hyper-local clothing, or face-to-face customer service, as an instance).
While we can not predict every effect of automation on the economy, workforce, and society, it is certain that small business owners will direct the charge in figuring out how to navigate and take advantage of the new fact.