How AI Levels the Playing Field for SMEs

Louise Langridge 24.01.2018

For SMEs, it can seem as if they’re constantly playing David to larger companies’ Goliath. Even when these businesses are offering great service to their customers, bigger rivals can continually have the competitive edge.

This is because larger companies have the scale and size to corner a market, along with the financial clout and prestige to hire the best talent. They also have much larger marketing budgets and can afford to spend more money on innovation. 

However, SMEs tend to be nimbler with greater flexibility. This means that organisational changes can be implemented more easily. And that means that SMEs can often realise the benefits of AI faster than larger companies. 

Artificial intelligence can supercharge your operational workflows and processes, allowing you to spend less time on admin tasks and more time doing the things that grow your business. 

For SMEs, the digital age has revolutionised the way they can compete with companies of all sizes. Increasing globalisation means that SMEs can become whatever they want to be. And by making the most of the latest technology, they can compete with larger companies now, more than ever before. 

Here are just a few ways AI levels the playing field for SMEs:

Automation

One of the reasons larger companies are often more competitive than SMEs? They simply have more hands on deck to get everything done. But SMEs can use AI services to automate repetitive and routine tasks. AI-powered services and systems allow smaller businesses to operate like a large organisation with much more speed and greater efficiency. 
Tasks like booking hotels and flights, setting up workflows, scheduling meetings, answering customer questions, and routine data entry are now easily automated, meaning smaller companies can spend less on overhead costs while freeing up time for team members.

Data analysis

There’s a reason why “Big Data” has been the term on everyone’s lips lately. Business intelligence, big data, and analytics are able to track SMEs’ performance in real-time. Predictive analytics also show current trends and give managers and other employees more insight so they can make better decisions. 

By interpreting and analysing the massive volumes of data your business has access to, you can turn them into actionable insights for marketing, sales, and customer service teams.

Machine learning and AI also allows SMEs to use their historical data more efficiently. While larger companies are able to turn to expensive data scientists, this is out of reach for most SMEs. AI can close this gap, giving SMEs the same ability to spot new revenue streams and opportunities for growth. 

Customer service

Larger companies can afford more staff for customer service. But AI can make this a moot point. Virtual assistants and chatbots are making it easier than ever to engage customers and provide instant support- regardless of the time or place.

In today’s digital world, behind every app, tweet, and device is a customer. Chatbots can greatly benefit SMEs, allowing them to give customers first-tier support, with customers quickly asking their question or describing their issue and the bot providing solutions or forwarding the issue to the appropriate person.

If you’re hoping to grow your SME this year, artificial intelligence can help you level the playing field and gain a competitive edge, while cutting costs and providing better customer service.

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Louise Langridge's picture
APAC Regional Managing Director
llangridge@morganmckinley.com.au