Open any business magazine or website and you’re likely to land on a feature praising artificial intelligence’s many benefits. AI remains a hot press topic because it’s a hot topic within the hallways of corporate leadership. A recent analysis of corporate earnings calls found an astonishing 129% jump in mentions of generative AI. But while the largest companies in the world drool over generative AI systems like ChatGPT, the right solution for medium and small businesses can often take a different form.
The good news? AI tech is better for businesses like yours than ever before. But first, ChatGPT, Google Bard, and other generative AI systems are built on large language model (LLM) technology. LLMs are what enable generative AI systems to demonstrate versatility in tackling subjects from writing software code to composing poetry. But just like human generalists, there’s a good chance ChatGPT won’t be familiar with or even competent at dealing with the specifics of your business. That’s why major players like Twilio are using highly customized versions of ChatGPT to achieve their goals.
Of course, smaller businesses don’t have the multimillion budgets (or the massive amounts of worker time) needed to customize a generative AI model. But do not fear. A different strategy is available—one far friendlier to companies in your size range—and fully embraced by the AI experts at my firm, Louder Co. The idea is to leverage specific, easy-to-use tools to produce dramatic improvements with minimal implementation costs and reasonable price tags. In this article, we’ll explore five exciting developments that are making AI more friendly to small and medium businesses than ever before.
Development #1: Expert Training = Expert AI
One of the challenges of LLMs is right in the name—these systems are “trained” using millions upon millions of documents from many sources. One problem this leads to is when AI struggles to determine the authoritative voice it should rely on. Such systems suffer from a similar challenge as Wikipedia: a high school student can log in to edit an article on chemistry, overwriting the work of a Ph.D. Chemist—and no one is any the wiser.
Software providers focusing their efforts on this area have developed a solution to the LLM problem. Instead of trying to train AI systems with every scrap of data they can get their hands on, they take a more intentional approach to training their artificial intelligence. For instance, Thomas Reuters’ Document Intelligence, an AI solution for legal practices, boasts 15,000 hours of training by its in-house team of legal experts. By limiting the training data to expert input, the system avoids so many issues plaguing generative AI, such as making up case citations in a legal brief.
Development #2: Integration with the Software You’re Already Using
The goal of embracing AI is to empower your employees to be even more productive. One of the keys to doing this is picking a provider whose tools can connect to the existing software programs already part of your business. These can range from online CRM solutions like Salesforce to traditional business software like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook for email.
Louder Co. works with our clients to document their current business practices, and then focus on creating synergies between various software systems. The right AI tool won’t just help employees find answers faster, it will also draft emails, contribute to a Word document, and even add notes to accounts based on such interactions.
Development #3: Specialization over Generalization
ChatGPT and other generalist AI systems continue to get all the press, but the trend in business AI platforms is moving towards specialization. Example: providers like Tidio continue to develop greater modules to their product offerings, addressing specific customer service aspects. This is a big boon for small and medium businesses. Why pay a huge price for a software package to run your whole business when you only need to fix your customer service? To be more specific, why pay for a platform that runs all of your customer service when you only require a chatbot as a first point of contact?
By creating AI platforms specific to one function of your business or even one business process, software providers can enable you to only pay for what you really need. This provides excellent ROI for small and medium companies.
Development #4: Friendlier Interfaces
There’s nothing worse than paying for a software or service with big promises that never pan out because your employees can’t figure out how to utilize your new system. Louder Co.’s clients need their people working at full capacity. This means they have little time to sit through boring trainings to harness the power of new platforms.
Luckily, they don’t have to. Much of the AI offerings Louder Co. suggests to clients possess a user interface purposefully designed to be as simple to use as possible. If your employees can use the apps on their phones, then they are ready to use many AI services. Although some training and onboarding is always needed, when you implement the right AI platform with Louder Co.’s help, your employees will enjoy benefits within days—not months or years.
Development #5: Augmenting, Not Replacing Humans
The topic of AI in business often results in fear for employees. They believe they will be replaced by a computer. While there will likely be shifts in the economy, human capital is likely to remain the most valuable asset of most companies, especially small and medium businesses. What workers are finding instead is that the right AI platform has great potential to augment their work, instead of replacing them. When AI takes care of repetitive drudgework or flags issues before they turn into fires, employees can be more productive and more engaged with their work.
To this end, a large (and quickly growing) spectrum of AI platforms are now ready to tackle practically any business process. Finding the right fit for your organization and its unique challenges means the difference between AI-powered success and falling behind your competitors. Louder Co.’s AI experts learn your business and compare its needs to the entire universe of AI options to find the best fit. To learn how AI can supercharge your company without the pain of a long implementation and/or sky-high costs, please call us today.