Businesses have long dreamed of handing over more and more work to machines for the purpose of cutting costs and improving efficiency. It all started with assembly lines that took over repetitive and mechanical tasks originally conducted by humans in a process we know as ‘manual labor’.
With rapid advances in technology, especially in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the idea of machines taking over more complex tasks is not as sci-fi as it had seemed five years ago.
The effectiveness of AI has already been established when it comes to automating monotonous tasks that are usually repeatedly done by HR specialists, salespeople and owners of small businesses. This allows people to focus their efforts on the more creative and complex aspects of their job.
With the help of AI, salespersons can enter data with smart CRMs while building strong relationships with customers. Similarly, HR specialists can filter job applications in a more efficient manner using smart recruiting software.
I believe that small to medium-sized businesses are the ones that will benefit from AI the most, adding efficiency to operations and smoothness to the overall workflows. As a result, employers can spend less time micro-managing the business and make more efforts on actually growing it.
How Can AI Benefit SMBs?
AI apps are ideally designed such that their focus is narrowed down to a handful of complex tasks like scheduling business meetings or responding to customer requests. However, there are also apps that can dynamically adjust marketing campaigns based on insights, or analyze consumer purchasing patterns.
It is these apps that promise to level the playing field, giving equal growth opportunities to small- to medium-sized businesses. The goal of these AI apps isn’t just to make it easier to run a business, but to make the business itself better. In fact, using AI in market analysis and business intelligence can empower businesses to think differently and come up with out-of-the-box solutions to bolster business growth.
AI will arguably benefit SMBs more than large corporations, mainly because SMBs will be able to accommodate AI technology more easily and quickly. Because their structure is smaller and more flexible, they can respond to insights and opportunities faster.
Here are some more examples of the ways that AI will benefit SMBs:
1. AI Can Give Better Branding To SMBs
AI has evolved through self-learning. Hence, AI-powered machines and applications are able to learn, adapt and even make decisions by reflecting on “experiences”. One critical area where we can see this is in the design industry where AI is already able to create branding graphics and sophisticated logos. This means that SMBs can design logos and other elements of their brand faster and cheaper.
Computers aren’t mind-readers, but neither are humans. When it comes to logo designing, it usually takes a couple of tries to get the things right, with multiple meetings and rounds of revisions that can add up to quite a bit of time . Through variation-based designs, AI tools helps you to design a logo for your business in just few seconds. All you need to know is your company name, industry and slogan.
It works by identifying an icon, font pair and color scheme based on keywords you enter to define what your brand is about. And on the basis of that, it suggests the most popular layouts, fonts, colors, and symbols with your brand name and slogan.
To give it a try, I created logos with the help of online AI tool. The time it took to design all the below logos was 60 seconds. Below are some examples of AI-based logos for GlobalSign.
2. AI and Support
The lifeblood of any large, small or medium-sized business is its customer support. AI-powered support can send appropriate comments, sense mood, engage customers in conversations, and even send emojis and GIFs. This can give SMBs the edge, allowing for instant response-time which can prove essential in retaining distressed or irate customers who are on the verge of migrating to a competitor brand.
AI-based customer support can resolve customer issues as soon as they are reported, ensuring a prompt response, building credibility for the enterprises. AI-powered support can also decrease the number of agents a company needs to employ, which can help lower costs, and allow human agents to focus on more complex issues so they are resolved more quickly.
According to Gartner, 55% of established companies either have started making investments in the potential of artificial intelligence for customer support or are planning to do so by 2020.
3. AI and Branded Content
According to Gartner, AI-powered machines will author roughly 20% of all business content by 2020. By embracing AI, SMBs can generate routine as well as repeated content more quickly and within the set deadlines. This will especially give them the edge in terms of better organic ranking on SERPs. In the long run, this can help SMBs to establish a stronger brand identity by increasing their outreach and expanding their customer base.
4. Use AI to Find More Customers
When you combine Big Data with AI, you not only have tons of information on your customer, such as their buying patterns, purchase history etc; you also have the perfect tool to make accurate predictions and generate qualified leads. AI can identify customers more efficiently based on their data to predict future action. What’s more, AI can employ a range of smart ways to attract customers and turn them into leads.
5. AI Helps You Win More Business
How helpful would it be for SMBs if their sales platform was directly synced with their email, phone and calendar? AI has become so smart now that it can actually extract relevant information from all synced email accounts and phone conversations, automatically building the perfect pipeline to close more deals. What’s more, AI can even help sales teams understand the steps they need to take in order to confirm more customers.
6. AI Can Protect from Cyber-Attacks
The use of AI techniques in cybersecurity is a double-edged sword. While cybercriminals are trying to create automated AI-based attacking tools, security vendors are also implementing AI technology into their tools to help predict and prevent those attacks. Popular services such as cloud storage encryption, antivirus tools and virtual private networks are among the many cybersecurity services that have started to incorporate AI technology.
AI-based advanced threat prevention programs makes it easier to respond to the cyber-attacks. The purpose of AI in cybersecurity is to learn, detect and prevent suspicious activities in a system. This provides organizations with a custom cybersecurity system which tailors itself to their requirements.
The Next Step is AI
In this digital world, the one who adapts to changing trends and evolving technology will stay ahead in the game. AI can level the playing field for SMBs, allowing them to increase their efficiency, maximize conversions, amplify output and boost revenues. Hence, AI will help SMBs to grow faster and compete with bigger and older competitors.
About the Author
Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.