Using AI to improve your operations

| October 4, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way people live, work and interact with the world. As such, SMEs cannot delay taking the path that leads to the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

Early adopters of AI are already revelling in competitive advantages. Whether it’s enhancing production with improvements to supply chain management or streamlining sales processes, AI offers clear advantages over traditional automation.

The value of AI for SMEs

Computer power is increasing and algorithmic models are becoming more refined. The world is generating once-unimaginable amounts of data, which is the ‘energy’ that AI needs. AI is at the heart of innovation today. And as we like to say at Arowana,  If you’re not riding the wave of change, you’ll find yourself beneath it.

AI is deep learning, machine learning, predictive modelling and data analytics all rolled into one. It gives SMEs flexibility, power and purpose. By leveraging customer data a SME can tap into new business opportunities, increase upsell, reduce churn, predict customer patterns and accelerate cash-flow generation.

Organisations that have enabled AI at the enterprise level are increasing operational efficiency, making faster and more informed decisions and innovating new products and services.

Using AI today

AI is already incredibly effective, especially at automating mundane tasks that take up time that could be spent growing your business. AI and machine learning applications are readily available to small and medium-sized enterprises, offering “off-the-shelf” applications that leverage technologies and applications already using AI. You don’t need to build your own AI systems to use the technology, you simply need to surround yourself with the people that know it best.


For your ad campaign you provide Facebook with an email list of 2,000 people – previous customers, blog subscribers etc. Facebook will then use artificial intelligence to create a “lookalike campaign” based on what those people like, where they live, what they do for work, gender, age etc. Suddenly you’ve got exposure to the exact people you need to expose yourself to.


SMEs are more vulnerable to hackers than large companies because so many SMEs do not have adequate protection in place. But, AI-leveraging security applications like Darktrace can detect emerging threats in real time. The tool requires no special skills to install and as a self-learning application, there’s no need to fiddle with it once it’s in place.

Legal advice

SMEs are using tools like LegalRobot to understand legal language and terms. Provide a photo of a legal document or contract and LegalRobot will compare it to thousands of similar documents, analysing it and helping you to understand the document or write a new one.

Customer relationships

AI can make SMEs’ sale processes much more efficient. AI-powered customer relationship management systems (CRMs) use the latest technology to give firms critical insights into their customers. Marketing, sales and finance teams can get a 360-degree customer view and can predict the future with reliable accuracy. CRMs can eliminate manual data entry tasks and remind employees to touch base with clients.

AI applications are commonly used to:

Remove guesswork from the customer relationship

Reduce time spent on tedious tasks

Aid faster, more confident decision making (providing previously undiscovered insights)

Identify new areas of revenue streams and make financial predictions

Improve personalised shopping experiences (helping generate customer loyalty)

Automate customer interactions (think online chatbots)

Offer real-time assistance for improved customer experience

Predict outcomes and when demand will tail off (assisting in ordering the right volume of stock)

Improve the recruitment process

Making AI the backbone of business

AI, while in its infancy, will one day be the backbone of every business big and small. Companies that set themselves up for its usage now will inevitably be better prepared for adoption in the future.

When asking where you can use AI in your business think about what will give you a high return on investment. Choose software that will help you achieve your company goals not because it promises to give you the ‘cutting edge’.

Where you have grown and leveraged data through using other’s AI tools you can be confident that early introduction will make building AI applications in the future easier. One day AI technology may be buildable without the need to commit massive resources and getting used to AI now will put you in good stead for that day.

If you choose not to dive into AI today, you should at the very least treat your data like a resource necessary for the future. AI tools require copious amounts of data to “learn” so the best way for you to prepare for the future of AI is to make sure that your data is easily retrievable using compatible formats.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to us about how we can streamline data infrastructure to make ‘data as a resource’ part of your business DNA.

Next steps

The bottom line is that AI systems provide businesses with a wide range of benefits. We encourage you to do some research and see what’s available to you so that you can be an early adopter. Learn how you can stay abreast of emerging trends, future-proof your business, and check out this case study from Arowana.