61% of Small Businesses Use AI to Automate Daily Tasks

PYMNTS Intelligence’s recently-released “New Report: SMBs Race to Critical Mass on AI Usage found there is a sharp divide in how small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) tackle growth strategies.

SMBs with revenues that exceed $150,000 annually are more likely to map out innovation and expansion strategies aimed at igniting growth.

SMBs that generate less than $150,000 in revenue each year or are seeing a decline in revenues are more likely to implement cost-cutting measures in hopes of spurring growth.

However, the report, which is based on surveys with more than 510 SMBs, determined that regardless of whether SMBs use innovation strategies to achieve growth or do so through cost-cutting measures, one method is available that can aid both camps: artificial intelligence (AI).

PYMNTS Intelligence found that 96% of SMBs that have tried AI tools see it as an effective method to streamline tasks. In fact, data shows that businesses that are most at risk and have already employed cost-cutting strategies are also the ones that may benefit most by deploying AI to automate even mundane tasks.

graphic, reasons for business use of AI

There is a clear division in how SMBs are currently using the technology, data shows. Those with increasing revenues and those generating more than $1 million annually are twice as likely as those with stable or declining revenue to use AI. Among those with increasing revenues, 51% now use AI, but only 19% of SMBs that are in cost-cutting mode say they currently use AI.

How are the SMBs that now use it putting AI to work? Automation of daily tasks and improving the quality and reliability of business processes appear to be the common theme across most businesses.

As the accompanying figure illustrates, among SMBs that now deploy AI, nearly 61% say they implemented it to automate daily tasks, while 53% report they use the technology to improve the quality and reliability of processes. Forty-six percent leverage it to improve the quality or reliability of the goods or services they sell.

And one stat should be of special interest to small and medium-sized businesses that are cutting costs in hopes of achieving growth. Although few cost-cutters are currently using AI, more than one-quarter of SMBs that now use AI say they deploy it to help identify expenses that can be decreased or eliminated.

Additional PYMNTS Intelligence data included in “SMBs Race to Critical Mass on AI Usage” highlights that AI can help meet the needs of a wide array of SMBs. We found that those with increasing revenues and those generating more than $1 million in revenue tend to use AI to improve the quality and reliability of processes. Those with fewer resources, meanwhile, are turning to AI more for automation, suggesting their AI spend is more focused on improving daily tasks.


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