*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column series that features insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.
By Dr. Kennedy K. Amofa
For decades, multinational enterprises have invested heavily in advanced technology, including Artificial Intelligence, to advance business operations to attain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. Integrating AI tools such as Chatbot and ChatGPT with other emerging technologies, including Big Data, Cloud Computing and Analytics, presents an excellent opportunity for small business owners to scale their business operations, creating more jobs in their local communities and contributing to the gross national product of the United States.
The scientific community defines AI as “the simulation of human intelligence in machines.” In this case, instead of computer systems doing routine and sequential tasks, generative AI uses deep learning to mimic the human brain information processes such as reasoning, decision-making, perception, visual perception, speech recognition and translation between languages to complete complex tasks. As AI gathers information, it mostly learns from experience to improve future outputs. Small business owners’ adoption of AI could increase effectiveness and efficiency in their business operations to attain organic growth.
It is essential to acknowledge that small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Small local businesses play a significant role in sustaining the economy. After the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses helped with the economic recovery by creating more jobs and serving as the primary source of business innovation that fueled economic growth.
Today, the new universal computing platform enables programmers and system administrators to integrate AI seamlessly with emerging technologies, namely Big Data, Analytics, Machine Learning, Mobile Technology, Deep Learning, Social Enterprise, Cloud Sourcing and Cloud Computing, to provide a new quantum computing environment for small businesses at an affordable cost. For example, AI tools integrated with web analytics can provide small business owners with data about their website traffic and customer engagement with new products and services.
Meanwhile, small business owners can explore open-source AI technology to help improve their customer experience with their websites, as ChatGPT virtual assistants could provide 24/7 efficient customer support. Additionally, AI can help collect a high volume of valuable customer data to improve customer satisfaction and experience. Small firms can use AI to enhance business operations to reduce costs by offering a range of task automation. Simple tasks like lead generation, intelligent lead scoring, web scraping, cold calling and online forms could all be done effectively with AI.
Hence, AI tools will enable small local shop owners to build an effective customer relationship management system to connect with customers, build new relationships and find recent trends to reach niche markets. Additionally, small businesses could use AI to reach new global markets to increase sales and revenue. Exploring the multiple language capabilities of ChatGPT will present the opportunity to communicate effectively with customers in different countries with the existing e-commerce platforms.
Open-source AI tools allow small business leaders to gather customer data to improve business operations. By analyzing customer feedback and preferences, businesses can make essential and informed decisions to enhance customer experience. Small businesses could integrate open-source AI tools into their existing systems to manage inventory and streamline their operations to attain effectiveness.
With attention to marketing, small business managers can explore the power of open-source AI tools to collect and analyze customer data to comprehend new trends and patterns in customer behavior. This process can provide small business owners with optimized data-driven marketing campaigns and product offerings to increase revenue from sales growth.
With attention to marketing, small business managers can explore the power of open-source AI tools to collect and analyze customer data to comprehend new trends and patterns in customer behavior.
We can all agree that small business owners wear many hats handling multiple tasks with busy schedules. The use of AI in the form of virtual personal assistants helps users to manage their schedules for their meetings and to complete routine business tasks.
On the contrary, considering all the opportunities that AI provides to various industries, we should not underestimate the concerns of AI for the fact that hackers could also use its power to infiltrate computer systems and collect sensitive data or other systems like the smart grid to cause havoc. As AI advances, more companies will be vulnerable to the infringement of consumers’ data privacy and protection.
Over the years, the emergence of innovative technologies has raised public suspicion and anxiety. However, being optimistic about the future of open-source AI regarding business operations and management can enhance business performance to attain a competitive advantage. As the global community, including research institutions, academia and business entities, continues to adopt AI technology, developing a mindset of collaboration and exploration to leverage AI effectively to obtain innovation and growth is of paramount importance.
Dr. Kennedy K. Amofa is an assistant professor of Business Administration at Columbia College. He currently teaches both MBA and undergraduate courses in management and organizational development. For the previous 12 years, he worked as an IT systems analyst supporting IBM global manufacturing operations in Rochester, Minnesota. He is passionate about advanced research studies in emerging internet technologies and business analytics.