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How small companies can better adopt Gen AI

How small companies can better adopt Gen AI

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When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), there are usually two polarised responses: trepidation or enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly, AI-related conversations dominated in 2023 with investments in the technology on the rise within APAC. 

In fact, according to Daitaiku, an American AI and machine learning company, there is a forecast of 67% increase in AI and machine learning investments across the region by 2024.

Within Southeast Asia, AI is no longer a novelty, but has become the ultimate marketing assistance. This is especially true for generative AI applications, which has helped marketers develop higher-quality, personalised content and create unique experiences that resonate better with audiences, all at a quicker pace. 

Don't miss: Study: Soft skills are still highly sought after by marketers despite AI boom

For example, when implemented into chatbots and customer engagement, it can free human agents to deal with more critical and complex decision-making tasks, as well as reduce friction at nearly any point of the customer journey. 

"Generative AI advent has catalysed a paradigm shift in customer service technologies, enabling the transition from rudimentary chatbots to sophisticated digital agents," said Basil Chua, managing partner at Multiverse Partners.

These intelligent digital agents can converse in various languages, answer complex questions, provide directions, and help customers navigate purchases, added Chua. 

Generative AI is no longer a hype; its adoption is no longer an option but a business necessity. 

How smaller companies can adopt it better? 

According to a study conducted among Singapore business respondents, 71% of business respondents in SMEs said they were using generative AI tools in their role, compared to a much lower 57% in large enterprises.

"SMEs looking to adopt AI capabilities should consider doing so progressively instead of attempting to overhaul the whole organisation at once," said Jon Dick, senior vice president of global customer success at HubSpot. "This makes the process more manageable in terms of cost and change management."

Business leaders can begin with identifying specific use cases within the organisation that can be addressed by AI, such as customer service or data analytics, and thereafter look for cost-effective solutions that can be scaled according to organisational needs.

“Businesses are increasingly looking to simplify the number of technology solutions their teams need to use and switch between to get their work done. Choosing a platform that's easy to use, and that has AI-powered solutions built in, can go a long way in facilitating employee adoption,” said Dick. 

Adding that, 

After all, AI delivers the best results when deployed in conjunction with human ingenuity.

In tandem, businesses set to dive in into AI should consider long-term AI safety, responsible innovation, algorithmic biases, intellectual property, data privacy as well as regulations and compliance, said Chua. 

“Singapore’s pioneering and progressive AI frameworks, such as the ‘AI Verify’ and ‘Model AI Governance Framework for Generative AI’, are good starting points for businesses considering adopting Generative AI.” 

In Malaysia, around 41% of Malaysia CEOs foresee substantial impacts on their companies, workforce and markets within the next three years.

In particular, 82% anticipate the need for workforce skills acquisition in response to Gen AI advancement, surpassing global (69%) and Asia Pacific (76%) figures. This is according to PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey (Malaysia).

Despite this awareness, half of CEOs in Malaysia surveyed admit to not having adopted Gen AI across their companies in the past 12 months.

In January earlier this year, prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had pushed Malaysians to embrace AI, or risk being left behind. 

He explained that like other new technologies, AI is a field that must be mastered now and that this quick change in technology must be accepted.

The limitations of AI 

In a recent study by HubSpot, it found that 61% of customer service professionals globally will use AI and automation by 2024. That said, it is still a work in progress. 

According to Chua, AI has reached early maturity and is "good enough" for large-scale business implementation - customer interaction and engagement among them. However, it is still unable to do the one thing that only human agents can do: complete a sales or customer action. 

Other limitations include having to ensure responses provided by AI are factually accurate and are capable of resolving issues or meeting customer expectations, said Dick.

“Customer issues that are emotionally charged or complex and high-risk in nature, may still require human intervention. AI lacks the emotional intelligence or ‘human touch’ and can’t replicate a human’s compassionate or empathetic response in these instances,” said Dick.

“Companies would need to strike the right balance between using technologies to work faster and still deliver an authentic customer experience, or risk creating a disconnect with their customers and lose their trust altogether.”

That said, the beauty of generative AI is that it’s constantly learning and evolving. In the future, chatbots are going to be more sophisticated and human-like, they will be able to understand sentiment and imitate talking styles, said Dick.

“More importantly, AI capabilities will no longer be limited to providing responses to questions but extend to creating original content or taking on tasks on behalf of the human workforce,” added Dick.

Join us this coming 24 - 25 April for #Content360, a two-day extravaganza centered around four core thematic pillars: Explore with AI; Insight-powered strategies; Content as an experience; and Embrace the future. Immerse yourself in learning to curate content with creativity, critical thinking, and confidence with us at Content360!

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