Some technologies instantly become prize catches for businesses. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two of them. Big businesses already understood their potential in driving innovation and growth. According to Research and Markets, the worldwide ML market is going to expand with more than 44% compound annual growth in the years between 2017 and 2022. You shouldn’t be surprised to know that small businesses account for a big portion of this growth story.
Already in many ways, AI and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are impacting the business interactions with the consumers. From smart voice assistants to Chatbot apps to personalised product recommendations in online stores, Machine Learning technology already has made its presence felt in multiple ways.
The core capability of Machine Learning in training software algorithms and computer interfaces about the user behaviour and intents to optimise the user experience attributes has already been considered as revolutionary for the small business IT strategists and developers.
Since Machine Learning can equip machines and software programs to adjust to user inputs and behaviour automatically, it is an ideal technology for driving automation. Naturally, small businesses having access to less resources will always find such technology growth-proponent. On the other hand, when big business brands are adopting Machine Learning, this became a really competitive criterion to stay in the league to drive innovation and growth.
Machine Learning for small business: An evolving approach
What was earlier not considered to be feasible, now seems to be a robust possibility. Yes, in the increasing adoption of Machine Learning, small businesses are likely to play a bigger part. Small businesses in recent years have been increasingly fond of Software as a Service (SaaS) products, a lot of out of the box digital solutions and cloud based software solutions built to accommodate the typical needs of small business owners and startups. With the help of pre-learned ML models small businesses can build specific solutions for their business process requirements.
While creating their own custom Machine Learning model is still an expensive and intimidating proposition for small businesses, they can always take advantage of ML based software products to start with. Another boosting factor is the rapid price drop for ML adoption thanks to the increasing competition and availability of several open source frameworks.
Since AI and ML integration into the business processes can allow reaping a lot of advantages for more precision and accuracy in decision making, in long term businesses can actually have a huge cost advantage. Business process automation with the help of ML tools also will help them cutting costs on resources and low-skilled manpower.
5 ways small businesses can be benefited by Machine Learning
There is a lot of talk about the advantages small businesses can get by adopting Machine Learning solutions. Let’s have a look at some of these benefits.
- Improved customer experience
According to several studies it is indicated that the customers today can switch preference to brands if they fail to anticipate their needs and leanings. Machine Learning by collecting huge amount of customer data helps anticipating the varied customer needs and accordingly can step up measures to improve user experience.
- Make faster and more informed decisions
Great business strategy that pushes growth is based upon a series of right decisions. Right decisions are always well-informed and data driven. Machine Learning technology by fetching a lot of relevant customer data from their interactions with the interfaces can deliver most important customer insights to empower decision making process.
- Business process automation
A streamlined business process with least friction is the hallmark of a successful business. The business process automation with streamlined processes can help save a lot of time and resources for a small business. ML allows small businesses to handle a lot of tasks automatically while always keeping options open where human intervention and inputs are needed.
- Optimising security and fraud control mechanism
At a time cybersecurity threats and malicious attacks are increasingly getting sophisticated and more equipped, data analysis for fraud and security threat detection is bound to be more effective than ever before. With the help of ML based models real time monitoring of users and analysis of user behaviour data, security threats can be dealt more proactively.
- Providing marketing boost
For any business understanding customers is of utmost significance. By analysing customer behaviour data and on-screen triggers, ML models can have deeper insights about customer preferences and leanings. Understanding customer preferences always help small businesses address customers with recommendations, promotions and offers that deliver better business conversion. This is why AI and Machine Learning for marketing is a great value proposition for small businesses.
How small businesses can actually integrate Machine Learning into operation?
Now that you have seen how small businesses can integrate Machine Learning in their business processes, it is important to consider two effective options they can adopt for this.
- ML vendor company
A small business or a startup can just opt for an AI or ML vendor company to integrate ML models for their business processes. Having a talented team of developers and experts is crucial for successful integration and implementation of AI and ML into small business processes. Having data science talent on-board is a crucial requirement when working with a vendor company.
- ML tool
When for a small business, requirements and prerequisites for ML implementation becomes havoc, out of the box ML and AI tools can be more effective options to choose from. As any digital worker with some years of experience and exposure with software solutions can learn them with the help of online tutorials and online community help, these tools offer the easiest ways to integrate ML into business processes.
Two constraints for implementing AI and ML solutions through vendors
Major companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google and several other adopted Machine Learning in the way they use customer-centric ads or product recommendations through their interfaces. While all these big brands are helping small businesses to take advantage of the customer-focused ads and promotions, they needed several years of effort and huge budget to build a perfect mechanism for learning about the consumers and catering them content they require.
There are two big problems that prevent companies to integrate AI solution. They are respectively the data problem and the UI problem. In nutshell to describe this problem, small businesses don’t have access to huge pool of data and they mostly lack data scientists and experts who knows the intricacies of Machine Learning interfaces.
In spite of the constraints and the shortcomings, small businesses seem to be more equipped than earlier for taking advantage of AI and Machine Learning for their business processes. Within a few years from now, we can expect an overwhelming number of small businesses across the niches to adopt these technologies for business process automation and targeted marketing.