What Small Business Owners Need to Know About A.I.
October 3, 2017
By: Cathie Ericson
The term “artificial Intelligence” (A.I.) sounds futuristic and straight from a sci-fi thriller, doesn’t it? But the truth is that A.I. is already seamlessly integrated into our lives. When you use Google Home or get a Zillow estimate, for example, that’s A.I. in practice. And once you realize how A.I. can boost your productivity, you will likely want to determine how you can harness A.I.’s power for your small business.
Here are four steps for incorporating A.I. into your workplace:
1. Familiarize your employees with A.I.
Aside from the general uncertainties of the term, your employees may fear that it will take their jobs. On the contrary, A.I. is poised to allow employees to grow and as it automates routine functions, it can free up staff time for more creative and knowledge-based roles.
2. Determine your most practical business uses for A.I.
Sometimes you need to start small, so it’s important to figure out where A.I. would be most useful in your company. Chatbots are a much buzzed-about use of A.I., but if you rarely have customers contacting you, that may not be the best way to deploy your resources.
Instead, think through what tedious, ongoing processes might be hampering your speed. Is payroll and invoicing detracting your finance department from more important matters, like overseeing P&L, or are you losing money because you’re not adequately tracking invoices? Then adding A.I. features to your accounting department could be a good move.
One stumbling block in A.I. adoption is the ability to find employees with the right skills, an issue cited by nearly 40 percent of respondents to a survey by Belatrix. Why not address the issue and help retain current employees by encouraging continuing education and cross training on the skills that will be necessary to adapt to an A.I. world? Getting them up to speed will underscore your message that A.I. isn’t taking jobs, and also reinforce your commitment to your best employees.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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