5 benefits of artificial intelligence for SMEs

Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction, neither in society nor in business

AI can be a valuable addition, especially for SMEs. It opens up new possibilities to improve or automate many activities of an SME, regardless of the size of the company and the sector in which it operates. The role of AI in business processes will increase in the coming years. That technology represents an unmissable train into the future, but one that you must master well for your business to evolve.

Smaller companies often fear that AI is out of reach because of a lack of data and resources to optimise processes.

In our blog post, ‘you don’t need big data for AI’, we show that a little bit of data can go a long way.

Know your customers better to target your marketing more accurately

Most Belgian SMEs have a website. Some even sell their products or services on it. By integrating a virtual assistant (chatbot), you give potential customers the chance to get answers to their questions 24/7. It is easy to collect information and engage with your website users. In this way, they may become full-fledged customers.

The chatbot is one of many examples. Artificial intelligence offers numerous solutions to analyse market trends and optimise advertising strategies. It can automatically design dynamic and personalised marketing campaigns, thus enhancing your company’s presence on the internet.

We have listed five NLP (natural language processing) applications to power your business.

Improving productivity and hence competitiveness

One of the tasks of AI in SMEs is to automate specific repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The time saved can be better spent on missions with a higher added value.

Let’s take the accounting example. Thanks to its recognition and analysis capabilities, AI can automatically process and sort certain accounting documents (delivery notes, specifications, invoices, etc.), resulting in immediate time and productivity gains.

This approach can be perfectly transferred to logistics, purchasing or stock management.

One of the biggest challenges for supply managers is handling demand volatility.

Read more about what value we have to offer your business in this domain.

Better manage resources and promote the sustainable transition

We sometimes forget that technology also makes a decisive contribution to a sustainable change in our societies. SMEs also benefit from this.

For example, an AI system is perfectly capable of optimising the raw materials you use to manufacture products, whatever they are.

When you avoid wasting raw materials, manage your waste better and limit your energy consumption, you naturally reduce costs. AI can contribute to this and, at the same time, mean something to the environment.

We can automate the quality inspection of your produced goods with computer vision, limiting waste and lowering the number of returns from end consumers.

Simplify your HR business

AI has already proven its effectiveness in streamlining certain HR functions.

In concrete terms, algorithms already exist that can screen the content of vacancies and select the CVs of candidates from external databases or on social networks that best match the position and the DNA of the company.

That’s called “matching”. That process doesn’t replace the human contact of a hiring process, but it speeds up the turnaround time and helps you with decision-making. AI algorithms can also support your human resources by advising on the best training. For example, they would keep your employees’ knowledge up to date, depending on their profile. Furthermore, they can make intelligent suggestions for better career management. And they quickly detect the first signs of burnout so that you can act immediately.

Why should you use Artificial Intelligence to control your staff’s availability, happiness, and retention? And will this data-driven strategy result in a human approach?

These questions were asked during several projects we have carried out, and we shared some answers in a previous blog post.

Get reliable information and forecasts to optimise your decisions

How can you improve your just-in-time or zero inventory policy? How can you better estimate budgets? Which energy supplier is most suitable for your company? How much revenue can you expect in the next quarter? What is the ratio between actual working time and billable time?

All those issues are complex. The business environment becomes more and more complex as the amount of data a company generates daily increases. That’s why decisions are sometimes difficult to make for a human brain anyway.

By extracting forecasts, artificial intelligence can give you concrete recommendations. That way, you can make decisions faster, and the overall management of your SME becomes a lot easier.

An excellent example of a data-heavy activity is determining the optimal price for a good or service.

This article will explain how ML2Grow can take your price optimisation to the next level.

Gilles Deweerdt

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