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Nine Things to Consider Before Integrating AI Into Your Business

AI can provide benefits to businesses but needs to be carefully integrated, a leading expert has said.

Daniella Genas, founder of Be The Boss, says it is “essential” entrepreneurs carefully weigh up the pros and cons of using robotics within their business models.

Business growth expert Daniella, who gave the keynote speech at this year’s Birmingham Black Business, said: “AI is no longer the future, it is the now. Now it is so much more in our faces, that there is understandably some concern. Business owners are wondering how the rise of AI will impact their businesses.

“There appears to be two camps: those who want to harness it for good to propel their businesses and those who are hoping it will all go away so that their business doesn’t become redundant. I sit firmly in between the two. I recognise the very real dangers and have done for some time. But I also acknowledge that we are already going down that road so in some respects it feels futile to ignore. Instead, it is best to explore ways you can utilise AI in your business to get ahead while you can. And whether you are terrified of AI or incredibly excited about the possibilities, it is essential you are informed and make decisions that are right for you and your business.”

 

Here Daniella outlines nine things all businesses should consider before implementing AI into their organisations

 

Automation

One of the key areas of focus for Be the Boss, is helping business owners reduce their businesses reliance on them. AI can be incredibly effective in this arena, automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing small businesses to streamline operations, reduce manual errors, and increase overall efficiency. This automation can free up valuable time and resources, enabling small business owners and employees to focus on more strategic and value-added activities.

 

Data Analysis and Insights

Small business owners often don’t recognise the significant impact that data can have on their business, or simply don’t have the internal resources to capture or analyse data. AI-powered analytics can process and analyse large amounts of data. AI can also do it much more quickly, accurately and cheaply than a member of staff. Small businesses can leverage this capability to gain useful and valuable insights into customer behaviour, market trends and business performance. These insights can be used for effective strategic decision-making.

 

Reducing Costs

If tasks are automated and delivered using AI technologies, this will help businesses reduce costs by reducing the amount spent on staff hours. This is particularly helpful for very small businesses who cannot afford to employ a large workforce. Tasks such as customer support which would typically require a customer services team member can be handled using an AI-powered chatbot for example.

 

Customer Experience

Personalisation can enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction leading to business growth.

However, many small businesses don’t have the resource to offer a truly personalised experience. AI can leverage customer data and algorithms to provide tailored recommendation, customise marketing campaigns and improve customer support.

But even with all of these benefits, it is important to acknowledge that there are risks, dangers and problems with the increased utilisation of AI. These include:

 

Integration costs/time requirements

Financial resources and time is required to initially adopt AI technologies in your small business. Identifying the right solutions for your specific needs and integrating them into your existing systems may be challenging and require a lot of time and error. Depending on the technology you use, implementation may be quite complex and require external support which may present an additional financial cost.

 

Loss of human interaction

Whilst automating tasks can have cost benefits and improve efficiency, some customers prefer to have direct human contact. AI can be quite impersonal and reduces human touch in customer interactions. Maintaining the balance between automation and human engagement can be a tough challenge for small businesses. This can have a negative impact on customer experience.

 

Is it ethical?

As a small business it is unlikely that you will have an understanding of how to implement ethical ai practices or frameworks, however without them you may be contributing to the perpetuation of biases or discrimination against certain groups. Concerns relating to bias, fairness and transparency within AI, have been ongoing and small businesses cannot afford to ignore them. However, without the knowledge, understanding or resources, how do you approach this?

 

Data breaches

AI relies on data, and small businesses need to ensure the privacy and security of customer and company data. Collecting, storing, and analysing data for AI purposes entails risks, including potential breaches, unauthorised access, or misuse. Small businesses must have robust data protection measures in place to address these concerns and comply with relevant regulations.

 

A new reliance?

Unless you are a company which builds internal AI solutions, your AI needs will be dependent on external providers. This means your business is at the whim of the third party providers which means service interruptions, unnecessary updates etc. are outside of your control but can have a significant impact on how you are able to deliver within your business. It is also essential to understand who owns the data.

 

Posted in AI, Business Advice, News, Technology