Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are becoming an integral part of businesses and a way to distinguish yourself as an engaged and forward-thinking company. With AI usage up more than 270% since 2015, using automated and machine learning systems to speed up and streamline business processes is becoming the norm, and avoiding them is only putting you further into the past.
But I can’t afford AI technology, I hear you say, these new technologies are only a recourse for the rich and powerful. Certainly that was once the way, and it may still be true that major corporations like Microsoft and Google are using complexly built algorithms that require a lot of investment, both in time and money. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more budget-friendly ways of integrating AI systems into your daily work.
1) SALES SYSTEMS
Using AI for sales and lead generation can increase leads by over 50% as well as reduce costs and call times by 60% and 40% respectively, according to the Harvard Bussiness Review. Luckily, there are various inexpensive ways you can see these benefits for yourself.
Services like Salesforce or OptinMonster provide AI-led sales tools that will help boost your regular sales operation without that much investment. OptinMonster provides lead generation resources that are aimed at the scope (and budget) of small businesses, and Salesforce offers a customer relationship management system that is equally driven by AI.
Ai is not always a system for cold hard numbers and facts, it can also be used to help manage the more human side of businesses. HR has expanded to encompass a wide range of services and activities like hiring and recruitment, employee engagement and satisfaction, and benefits and education provision, all of which can become a little cumbersome for one HR team to handle.
“An AI system can help by taking the grunt work out of these activities,” advises Maria Merkel, a IT expert at Best Writing Services and Academized. “AI-powered recruitment companies like RampUp or Arya can sift through hundreds or thousands of applications to find applicants with the right skill set or profile, while services like Zenefits streamlines the day-to-day HR functions that don’t always require meticulous human attention; think payroll or benefits allocation.”
3) DATA ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT
Naturally, AI lives and breathes data, so it’s not surprising that AI is really good at managing, organizing, and analyzing that data. Whether it’s from recruitment, sales, marketing or anywhere else, AI thrives on being able to work faster, harder, and longer than any human analyst ever could.
The best on the market is probable IBM Cognos, which offers powerful data analysis with detailed analytics and easy-to-understand visualization. The information is easy to manipulate and control based on your specific requirements, and the services is offered on tiered pricing depending on your requirements.
4) MAKING YOUR OWN
If none of these services quite scratch your itch, you can have a go at designing your own AI tools. This area is normally where the cost mounts up, both in terms of technical requirements and work hours necessary to make a working system, but there are ways of running custom-built AI systems for less.
Seraphina Finch, a business writer at Simple Grad and Let's Go And Learn, says that “IBM Watson is probably the best known of these types of services. Free to use and open source, you can use it to build models from scratch or base your tools off of templates and existing enterprise apps. There’s also WorkFusion’s RPA tool which is ideal for making chatbots and other automated tools.”
This article has detailed some of the many applications for AI tools in a small business. The bottom line is streamlining; any meticulous, time-consuming process can be sped up by the inclusion of an AI system.
This is only scratching the surface of free or cheap AI tools. As the business continues to grow and AI tools become even more commonplace, more companies will emerge offering machine learning services for less. However, don’t let that be a reason to wait: the earlier you get on board, the sooner you can get out ahead of the competition that hasn’t made the leap.