Technology for MSMEs: AI and big data can transform the MSME space by enabling businesses and entrepreneurs alike in creating consistent business growth.
Technology for MSMEs: In today’s world, technologies such as AI and big data have become quite ubiquitous. So much so that they are present and used unequivocally in our everyday lives. From ride-sharing apps, to voice searches on smartphones, AI service delivery is being used every day. Even from the perspective of the business landscape, India is making rapid strides in the SME and MSME sector with respect to the adoption of digital technologies. While on one hand, these technologies offer you a great promise, they also manage to raise apprehension at the same time and only the concerted efforts of key stakeholders can create a framework that will capitalise on the technology landscape and be able to derive maximum benefits in the most pragmatic manner.
Given the dynamic business culture today Gartner notes that “Artificial Intelligence is increasingly making its way into the workplace, with virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and other forms of chatbots now augmenting human performance in many organizations.” Gartner also predicts that by the year 2021, 70 per cent of organizations globally will integrate AI in the workplace in order to reap the concomitant benefits. There is no denying the fact that when applied in the most optimum manner, AI and big data can transform the MSME space by enabling businesses and entrepreneurs alike in creating consistent business growth by aiding across functions such as product development, customer service, marketing, sales, etc.
It is no secret that creating the perfect product for the market is what all businesses aim at. This can involve anything ranging from finding the target audience to the identification of consumer needs, the value proposition, product testing, etc. Businesses can harness the transformative capabilities of AI to this end, via audience segmentation, natural language processing, etc. Factually speaking, barely there is any industry today that has not been affected by AI and data analytics. Let’s take a look at a few industries wherein AI has made a significant impact and garnered great results.
Healthcare: MSMEs health service providers, today, can make use of AI to be able to assess the symptoms of, and also diagnose diseases which aid them in providing appropriate treatment for patients. Big data can also help in the designing of health intervention programmes in real-time that can support patients and also restructure the health sector where the analysis of medical data can assistant diagnosis with the help of AI tools.
Finance: By employing AI and machine learning, MSMEs in the financial sector can take on some of the biggest challenges faced by them like fraud detection, transactions etc. This will further aid financial institutions in recognising credit default in patterns of customers or even pattern recognition that can help in the reduction of the NPAs of banking institutions.
Manufacturing: Talking about the manufacturing sector, an area that needs special interest is logistics and supply chain management. Here AI can help in offering better resource utilisation which will provide magnificent value chain management for small businesses. From the ease of being able to track supplies to be able to forecast demand, all this can help in better logistics and thus give businesses a better bottom line.
Agriculture: An industry that has been revolutionised by AI, technological interventions in agriculture, has helped farmers in tracking essential parameters such as moisture, soil temperature, and also helped in the identification of the ideal time for harvesting too, along with informing them about the kind of tools that can be used to enhance their crop yields. Providing precision agriculture and smart irrigation solutions – IoT-enabled and cross-platform systems today that are accessible through the web and mobile applications help farmers increase their efficiency.
AI and big data are not limited to just large enterprises now; they propose a fantastic growth opportunity for MSMEs as well. By allowing small businesses to delegate tasks effectively and practice a faster and more innovative approach, it can help employees in focusing on more opportunities for business expansion. Having said this, the need of the hour in order to capitalize on this growth remains in the strategizing and aligning of these technologies with business goals. By prioritizing these technologies in an appropriate manner, MSMEs can achieve the long-term success that is also scalable as AI and big data continue to redefine the technology landscape for them.
The author is co-founder and director, Transerve Technologies. Views are personal.