The rapid evolution of AI over the past year has been nothing short of revolutionary, particularly generative AI – technologies that generate text, images, video, 3-D models and even code – which saw a breakout year in 2023. For example, in ChatGPT’s first month, it amassed 57 million users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history, according to research from investment bank UBS.

Despite its popularity, there’s an undercurrent of uncertainty among some business leaders. SMB leaders are asking big questions: What’s the real deal with AI (beyond all the buzz)? How do I actually get it to work for my business? How do we use this responsibly and keep our customers’ data safe?

The key to navigating these questions is all about experimenting with AI, focusing on the big wins it can bring to the table, and learning best practices for using the technology responsibly.


What AI Can Do For Your Business

According to Microsoft’s 2023 study, What Can Copilot’s Earliest Users Teach Us About Generative AI at Work, this AI tool brought numerous benefits:

  • 70% of Microsoft Copilot users said they were more productive, and 68% said it improved the quality of their work.
  • Overall, users were 29% faster in a series of tasks (searching, writing, and summarizing).
  • Users were able to get caught up on a missed meeting nearly 4x faster.
  • 64% of users said Microsoft Copilot helps them spend less time processing email.


More Ways to Get AI to Work for You

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some simple ways to begin using AI in your day-to-day workflow.

Content Assistant: AI solutions can easily analyze thousands of online resources to craft the perfect job description and write SOPs, proposals, contracts and leases.

Get To The Point: Generative AI can distill lengthy documents, articles, and e-mails into concise summaries, making it easier to grasp key points quickly.

Product Discovery And Innovation: Leverage AI to analyze customer feedback and market trends for new product ideas or improvements, speeding up innovation.

Data Analysis: Employ AI for deep data analysis, uncovering insights into customer behavior, operational efficiencies, and market opportunities.

Automate Routine Tasks: From scheduling to invoicing, AI can automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks, such as drafting meeting summaries or generating reports, allowing teams to focus on strategic work.


AI Best Practices

While AI can dramatically enhance efficiency and creativity, there are best practices to ensure its use is both effective and ethical:

  1. Follow An Effective AI Implementation Roadmap: Before rolling out any AI tool, it’s essential to have AI policy and governance in place, ensure data hygiene, and that permissions are effectively managed. These measures prevent inaccurate results, or mishaps such as confidential salary info being accessible to all members of your team.
  2. Depending On The Tool, Be Wary of Sharing Personal Information: To protect privacy, avoid using personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) with certain AI tools. For example, assume anything that you input into ChatGPT is public information.
  3. Verify and Review: AI is a powerful tool, but it’s not infallible. It can sometimes inherit biases from training data or generate fabricated or wrong answers. Always review its outputs as you would a human co-worker’s work.
  4. Experiment: The best way to understand AI’s potential is to experiment. Start small, like using prompts to write a social media post. As you gain confidence, integrate generative AI in places where it can add the most value, like automating routine tasks, enhancing creative processes, or improving decision-making with data analysis.


The Consequences Of Ignoring AI

AI isn’t coming – it’s arrived. Driven by billions in investment and some of the brightest minds on the planet, it’s reshaping the business landscape in ways we’re only beginning to understand. Choosing not to integrate AI into business operations would be like refusing to use e-mail in the 1990s. Without it, you might soon find yourself in a world you don’t know how to work in.

Instead of viewing AI as a looming threat, see it as an opportunity to tackle old problems with novel solutions. Yes, AI is changing the business playbook, but it’s also empowering us to deliver extraordinary value to our customers in new ways, dream bigger and achieve more.


Is Your Business AI-ready?

Our team has a number of resources to help businesses ensure they adopt AI in the most effective manner possible.

For example, we offer:

  • Regular webinars and speaking events to keep you up to date on the latest trends and key topics
  • E-books, guides, and templates
  • Free AI risk and readiness assessments

To get more information, join our AI focused mailing list, or call 1.888.749.0098 to chat with our team about your business’ AI readiness level!