In that survey, we also asked AI non-users – specifically those SMBs who are interested in but have not yet adopted AI – how they expect to use it, and what they anticipate the benefits will be.
Intended usage varies quite a bit by company size. Very small businesses (VSBs, or SMBs with fewer than 20 employees) and midsized businesses (MBs, with 100 to 500 employees) both plan to use AI most as a virtual assistant. That planned use is second for small businesses (SBs, with 20 to 99 employees), who are more likely to use AI for business intelligence or analytics. VSBs are second most likely to use AI for website and social media analytics, while MBs are second most likely to use it to improve operations.
Potential AI users envision significant benefits from its use. Roughly half of VSB and SB non-users expect it to make a very or significant contribution to their business – increasing to over two in three MBs. Specifically, VSBs and SBs are most excited about the opportunity to improve their marketing and sales, followed by quality improvements. MBs are most, and equally, excited about AI’s potential to help them improve quality, to expand into new markets, and to improve data security.
If the benefits are so compelling, why are late AI adopters lagging? In a word, the cost – it’s the number one concern, across all size segments. The second biggest concern overall is having a clear strategy for AI. SBs are also concerned about end-user training, and MBs, security and compliance.
Next week, we’ll finish our series on AI with a look at the rationales for SMBs who aren’t interested in AI at all, and the prevalence of AI usage policies.
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