Artificial Intelligence: Leveling The Business Playing Field
The economic crisis caused by Covid-19 forced organizations to grapple with an entirely new set of challenges. And while no business was — or is — immune, the burden fell disproportionately on startups and small businesses.
A massive shift to remote work, layoffs and budget cuts predictably caused major disruptions. But there’s always a silver lining: These shifts also forced organizations to adapt and adopt new business strategies. For SMBs, it highlighted the need — and an opportunity — to take advantage of AI and data analytics.
A survey of 500 data professionals conducted in April 2020 discovered that 49% of companies were using data analytics “more or much more” than they did before Covid-19. Further, it revealed that small businesses were leading larger enterprises in the use of analytics across every department, with 68% using analytics in operations (compared to 30%), 56% in finance (compared to 27%), 50% in sales (compared to 20%) and 45% in product (compared to 18%).
How Startups Are Leveraging AI In Three Critical Industries
Covid-19 has catalyzed the accelerated adoption of AI-based business analytics, workflow and process automation. Therefore, the need for AI adoption is more crucial than ever to remain competitive. As a result, the AI industry might receive a significant boost.
The benefits of embedding AI in business processes are: reduced cost, streamlined operations, predictive scenario planning and an ability to better manage risk. Simply put, investing in AI allows startups to compete and execute at a higher level.
Industry-specific AI software is poised to see strong growth over the next year. Here are a few industries that are already benefiting from startups adopting AI and analytics technology:
• Supply chain: The recent crisis has brought to light the critical requirement for real-time, intermodal, end-to-end logistics solutions. Utilizing AI, supply chain managers can transform previously unstructured data for use in predictive analytics engines to help manage complexity and minimize risk.
AI is assuming a central role in the operational, day-to-day activities of those managing the supply chain. For businesses dealing with multiple partners, including warehousing and shipping goods and containers by air, truck, ship and train, AI helps manage the wide variety of “what ifs” and edge-case scenarios, ensuring that the supply chain operates reliably and efficiently.
• Cybersecurity: In the era of emerging virtual enterprises, cybersecurity is more challenging and crucial than ever. Leveraging AI, companies can employ a prevention-first approach to predict, detect and remediate threats — whether previously known or novel — in near zero-time. There is a need for AI-based orchestration because the workforce and the network are more distributed, asynchronous and have a growing diversity of vendors.
Unlike traditional detection and response-based cybersecurity solutions that wait for the execution of the attack to react, AI-based cybersecurity platforms automatically deter and prevent attacks, keeping businesses protected.
• Healthcare: There has been a dramatic growth in the use of AI in the healthcare industry, with some reports showing that the market will grow to more than $27 billion by 2025. The pandemic has only accelerated this growth and has led to broader technology adoption in healthcare, exemplified by the growing acceptance of telemedicine and digital therapies. One of the biggest factors? The demand for remote diagnoses and mobile-first therapeutic solutions.
Another recent development has been more attention to risk management and minimization. AI steps in with a unique ability to analyze a complete set of test results, compared to a manual process that typically analyzes only a small percentage. Even the best-trained, most well-intentioned clinicians can make mistakes. In fact, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is medical errors. AI-powered diagnostic and monitoring systems can help detect critical, life-saving medical details by identifying anomalies in patterns and enabling healthcare providers to deploy preventative or therapeutic measures.
Driving Continued Innovation For SMBs And Startup Vendors
The price of AI is declining steadily, making commitments more affordable for the average small business. In addition, the user interfaces are improving and training times are decreasing, which is accelerating adoption in the smaller-than-enterprise customer segment. According to my company’s AI survey, consumers are also expressing their desire for use of AI and their comfort with its ability to improve interactions and outcomes in industries from financial services to healthcare, e-commerce to wellness.
Increasingly, AI startups and larger organizations, both public and private, are providing structured data to broader segments of industries at very affordable rates. In many cases, data is becoming commoditized. Therefore, a small business is no longer limited by its data alone; rather, it can leverage multiple data streams, open-source data and private data sources to use in the proliferating variety of AI models to suit its purpose.
There is increasing evidence that large corporations and government buyers are willing to purchase solutions from startups because the cost of waiting for a similar solution from a larger vendor may be too significant. The quality of software has improved in recent decades, so it is more reliable, more consistent, better documented and increasingly based on standard library objects and APIs that make implementation easier within large enterprises.
As the world economies accelerate into recovery, AI startup vendors have an unparalleled opportunity to reach enterprise and small business customers as the demand for AI-based improvements in application functionality has been validated across use cases and the demand for flexibility and efficiency with distributed architecture has never been greater.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com To read the full article and see the images, click here.
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