Traditionally, large corporations are the first in the business community to enjoy the benefits of transformative innovations that emerge from university research labs and technology think tanks. The unbalanced distribution of these technologies is primarily due to their high price points, as the marketplace has yet to refine production to create the most cost-friendly products.
Fortunately, the effects of supply and demand and the rapidly growing market for automated solutions allow for the positive impact and efficiency-boosting perks of such innovations to trickle down to smaller businesses. In recent years, technologies like AI-based machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become the embodiment of these dynamics.
These advancements in automation technology are now integrated into platform solutions that allow smaller companies to enjoy the benefits of automation in everything from production and distribution to sales and administrational workflows. It allows for better human-to-human business as technology manages the rest of the work.
Key Benefits to
Adopting Automation Technology
First and foremost, automation technologies provide long-term cost savings by reducing the labor costs and resources that would otherwise be spent on manually performing important but tedious procedures. Assigning an automated program to complete a task, such as sending out emails, rather than a human employee accomplishes two feats: the program sends emails in an efficient manner, as it was programmed to do, while your employee can tackle other matters. In a crowded digital economy where competition is always fierce, small improvements in margins can very well be the deciding factor between companies that thrive and others that never reach their potential.
Aside from cost benefits, automation also improves overall efficiency with its ability to significantly enhance communication within a small to midsize company, as well as with a customer base. Cloud-based ERM platforms, for instance, can leverage their capacity to sync employees, departments, and regional offices in real-time to eliminate any lag in communication. A few years ago, the sheer cost of such systems made them viable options for only large companies with deep pockets.
If adopted in a deliberate and well-organized manner, particular automated solutions in a handful of critical areas can allow managers and executives in smaller businesses to hand off resource-consuming responsibilities to technology and focus on what they do best - improving their organizations and growing the company.
Cutting-edge innovations have traditionally segued directly from R&D to large corporations with few, if any, stops in between. With the rapid advancement in computing power and algorithmic modeling, those cutting-edge innovations are now available to automate many operations for small to medium-sized businesses.
AI for Smaller Companies
While AI still might sound like the workings of a science-fiction novel to some, it is progressing significantly and changing how companies of all sizes conduct business. Along with companion technologies including big data, subsets of AI, like machine-learning, can now help smaller companies automate many of their processes to better target and engage their customer base, as well as improve internal workflows.
For instance, rather than investing the capital needed to hire outside agencies, small to midsize companies can handle many marketing procedures in an in-house basis. Using machine-learning platforms to create customized digital assets and content, smaller companies can simply provide stock photos, video, and ad copy to a marketing platform that uses consumer and geographical data to craft entire campaigns designed to engage a specific target audience. Correspondingly, there are platforms that can gather and utilize such data from third parties to inform businesses and influence their decisions.
IoT is a Long-Term Cost Saver
Likewise, IoT can automate functions within smaller companies that previously required high fixed costs while decreasing the likelihood of human error. Based on a significantly greater ability to link hardware with smart software platforms, different IoT applications are useful in everything from office management to the supply chain.
As an example, companies can now purchase IoT-based automation platforms that can integrate utility usage monitoring and office security from the control of a mobile device. The adoption of such innovations can help small to midsize companies save on the costs of hiring an outside security firm since motion-detection cameras, office lights, and even entry points can be monitored and managed from any location with internet access and a phone or tablet.
The Bottom Line
Unlike their conglomerate counterparts, smaller companies do not have the luxury of a seemingly endless supply of resources or employees. By adopting automated solutions like AI and IoT, smaller companies can infuse their operations with the agility needed to navigate and compete in the digital economy while saving money, resources, and time. The benefits of automation are no longer isolated for the conglomerates to use; they have evolved and now aid small to midsize companies in focusing on what matters.