What’s the state of small-business AI adoption?

Artificial intelligence has certainly become a bit of a buzzword in the business world over the past few years. The reality is that while the technology has practical applications for just about any company, not all of those use cases will work well for your specific small business. As such, you have to be highly strategic about the ways in which you adopt and deploy AI within your organization.

The first thing you have to keep in mind on this front is that if you are not planning to adopt AI, or even if you're just on the fence, you're at risk of falling behind in your industry, according to a new survey from Splunk. Indeed, 71% of companies are now increasing their AI and machine-learning budgets for 2021, and more than 2 in 5 respondents who are doing so say they are taking the step because the technology is having more of an impact on their business than they initially expected. In fact, a quarter of them said that, in hindsight, it probably should have been their top organizational priority.

How can AI help your small business?How can AI help your small business?

To that end, half of those polled said they are now planning to increase budgets and staffing around AI for the remainder of 2021. In fact, almost 80% of respondents listed AI and ML over other tech initiatives, with more than a quarter describing the adoption of these technologies as a "top priority," and slightly less than half indicating it's a "high priority."

Getting it right
Of course, as with any industry-wide rush to get up to speed with the latest and greatest technology, some experts wonder whether businesses are being judicious about these investments, or just throwing money at an issue, according to a KPMG survey. Under COVID-19, the majority of companies in a host of sectors (including manufacturing, financial services, tech, retail and more) increased investments, but some say adoption rates are increasing at a pace too rapid to make sense for everyone.

That includes 63% of small businesses polled, as well as slightly more than half of respondents categorized as "business leaders with AI knowledge," the survey found. Likewise, 51% of Gen Z and millennial business leaders were wary of blistering adoption rates.

Finding the niche
With the above concerns in mind, small-business owners or leaders would be wise to adopt AI but perhaps not go all-out in their efforts to do so. The Harvard Business Review points out that it can be excellent for uses like automating time-consuming, tedious processes — which in turn frees up employees to tackle other tasks. In addition, it can also quickly and easily break down reams of pre-existing business data to help you identify patterns that would be difficult or impossible for even an experienced professional to spot.

If your company has people who bring a level of intimate familiarity with AI adoption and implementation on staff, your efforts to deploy this technology should go quite well. This is where YES Partners can help your small business get ahead. To see some of the roles that we have already successfully placed, click here.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.

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