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4 points to bear in mind for small businesses when using AI

In the past, AI was considered as something that only enterprise level businesses could use due to the high costs associated with doing so. However, fast forward to the present day, Open AI’s ChatGPT has transformed the way we work with AI now able to reach all businesses regardless of their size. 

Given the fact that significant players in the technology market such as Microsoft are bringing AI related solutions to the table, SMEs are able to access these without spending vast quantities of money. So, how as an SME should I use AI and what do I need to take into account before doing so? Let’s take a look! 

Where do I begin? 

The first step that any SME should take to get started with AI is to use ChatGPT. There are no doubts that you have already started experimenting with it to test it out. 

You will find that ChatGPT helps to speed up the way in which you work. To put this into context with an example, you are able to draft web pages, customer emails much faster. Or even take this even further by using it as a research tool for ideas and recommendations or to predict trends in your sector and so on. 

The great thing about generative AI is the fact that you don’t need to start things from scratch. It is a superb way of working that helps to increase both productivity and efficiency. 

The questions come around the security of ChatGPT which does raise some doubts. Where does the data used in this form of AI finish up? Granted, businesses have every right to be worried about the security of AI so it is important to not use sensitive information that could hurt your business. 

This is where Microsoft Copilot can come in to save the day. The way to consider Copilot is a better version of ChatGPT that gives you better context in the working environment along with Microsoft’s best security controls in place to keep you and your business safe. Microsoft recently reiterated its commitment to say that the data is not used for AI purposes  

So, why Microsoft Copilot for SMEs? 

The best feature of Copilot is the fact that the product can easily integrate with existing Microsoft apps that we know and love such as Excel, Dynamics 365 and many, many more thus enabling you to extract the biggest value possible without having to invest so much money. 

To put some context on this via an example, let's say you want Copilot to pull together data from different Power BI reports and reflect these insights onto a PowerPoint presentation in a matter of seconds. It will certainly transform the way SMEs work and help bridge the gap to larger corporations by increasing productivity based on a limited budget. 

If you choose to integrate it with your CRM systems, it can help you to create sales emails, marketing content, mimic the tone of your previous emails or messages as well as using contextual data. To give you an example of this, if a customer has a problem, Copilot can go through all of your articles and previous issues and make a suggestion as to how to resolve it. This is all completed in a matter of minutes rather than you having to spend hours manually trawling through data. 

The best part of Copilot being a Microsoft product is the fact that there is plenty of trust associated with it. There are no doubts you will be concerned about pushing business data into open-source solutions. However, given how well-regarded Microsoft is when it comes to security, Copilot gives you that peace of mind and assurance that your data is in safe hands. 

4 points to bear in mind for small businesses when using AI 

Copilot is a good starting point when it comes to AI, however if you are looking to create something a little more bespoke for AI, there are few points that you will need to consider. Given AI is a common buzzword used across many businesses as well as SMEs are looking to use it without really considering whether or not it will be everything, they want it to be for their business. 

Take your time to reflect and consider the following 4 points before you get started on an AI project. 

1 – What is the overall quality of your data like? 

It is important to consider this as the AI output is only as good as the data that is fed into it. So, first thing is first, you need to make sure that the data is as clean as you can with all duplicates, inaccuracies and errors removed.  

Also, it is worth bearing in mind that you don’t have to rush into using AI; it is important to find out if you are producing enough data to make it worth your while. Without vast quantities of data, you won’t get the very best insights, so make sure you go through your data first. 

2 – What are you looking to achieve? 

It is always important to establish what the desired result is before you start any project. What are you looking to achieve or value you are looking to add from your data? 

How will the project give you an advantage over the competition? It may sound basic, but you could invest loads of money in looking to achieve something that might not give you the returns you want. 

3 – Do I have all the necessary resources at my disposal? 

Consider everything you need to make this AI project work – not just the monetary side but also the level of expertise required. Do you have the right resources to do this in-house? Do you require a specialist in this field such as Advantage? As an SME, do you have the budget required for the project to go ahead? 

If you underestimate what you need in terms of resources, the project may not get off the ground or not deliver what you need. 

4 – Is your business ready for AI-driven attacks? 

When using AI, the risk of AI related attacks increases. You will find that cybercriminals are taking advantage of AI to look for weaknesses, speed up attacks and copy human behaviour to get into a business’s security system. 

Are you prepared for these events if they occur? By choosing to partner up with a dedicated security provider like Advantage, you can relax in the knowledge that your infrastructure will be monitored all the time by our team of highly qualified security experts and automated threat detection tools. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is looking to transform the way you work through the use of AI such as Microsoft Copilot or want to discuss anything cyber security related then please do reach out to our team of experts now to take the next step on your journey. 

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