Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning

Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are already making several changes in today’s business scene. Machine learning, a subset of AI, is an integral part of several business applications. Even social media platforms like Twitter uses machine learning to organize users’ timelines. 

AI and MI often work in tandem. The former makes human tasks more precise and faster, while the latter helps in making estimations and predicting outcomes. 

The technology evolves, and it becomes more prevalent in business as new applications for the technology emerge. The developments will impact big companies, but even the SMBs will benefit from the technology. 

What is machine learning and what does it do?

Technically, machine learning involves a team that uses big data to help the machine learn. Typically, the data fed to the machine model will help it identify patterns and make predictions without too much help from humans. Making better machine learning models requires high-quality and accurate datasets. A data annotation company can provide the platforms and tools to accelerate the development of ML.

You can see how machine learning works with these examples:

  • A movie-streaming site recommends other shows based on your viewing history.
  • An e-commerce site sends you emails after you checked some products which you did not buy.
  • Banks use ML for fraud prevention and to identify likely investment opportunities.
  • Retailers use ML for merchandise supply planning and price optimization.

How can machine learning help SMBs?

Integrating AI/machine learning into various business tools is not physically visible. Still, it is tangible because the tools work seamlessly and provide the automation businesses require. Here are some examples:

  • Marketing automation. Today, many companies use machine learning to target new audiences, find new customers, and communicate with them. Previously, marketers performed these tasks manually. Today, they can complete the tasks automatically and have more qualified information that the system can analyze and collate. 
  • Intelligent chatbots. Various businesses are employing virtual chatbots to help with customer service. On websites, a chatbot becomes the face of the company, and companies give them a unique name. In addition, you can have the chatbot customized and give it a personality befitting your company or brand, which can help increase customer experience.  

A customer service chatbot contributes to how the user comprehends the interaction. You can use chatbots to streamline your company’s customer service, identify potential customers for follow-up conversations, and organize customer service issues. You do not need a full-sized department to provide support services to your customers.

  • HR services. As a small business, you may not have an HR department. With machine learning, you can have a tool to find the right talents you need. The recruiting and hiring process will be the same, but ML automates the process. The tool can analyze and organize candidates’ resumes, search for additional information online, and build more comprehensive profiles. 
  • Make informed decisions. Machine learning can make your decision-making process faster. With more affordable data storage solutions and the variety and volume of data you can access, you can use machine learning technologies to analyze more data, giving you more accurate results. For example, you can use it to analyze staff performance, track your social media promotion, or check the number of visitors your website converted into paying customers.  
  • Streamline your business operations. Even if you do not have all the staff you need to manage your business operations, you can still make it more efficient with ML. Your small team can attend to business processes that require their presence. At the same time, ML automates the more tedious and repetitive tasks, such as engaging on social media, generating leads, sending billing notices, responding to emails, and preparing reminders for appointments. In addition, the machine can flag activities that need human attention. Thus, you save time and maximize the skills of your workforce. 
  • Protection against cyber threats. Businesses constantly face cyber threats. As websites are available 24/7, the opportunity for cyber crimes is always there. You cannot discount the numerous benefits of using the internet. However, companies should always make cyber security a top priority. If a virus hits your network, you will suffer downtime. And if there is a data breach, the downtime becomes more costly. You can use machine learning to identify suspicious activities quickly. For example, ML can detect cyberattacks and react automatically. It is a good option for small businesses that cannot afford to hire a network security expert or deploy a robust network security program. 

You can make machine learning a part of your small business. The tools are more affordable and can help you streamline your business process through automation. Embracing technology should not be limited to big companies. Small businesses should start now to grow and evolve with it and get used to reaping its many rewards.

Greg Stanley