Artificial intelligence and machine learning for SMEs


Artificial intelligence (AI) is still consistently viewed as vague or entirely unrealistic. The reality is quite different: AI is far more commonplace than the majority of people realise and is already used throughout organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Owing, perhaps, to science fiction texts or the fact that news concerning AI is inevitably focused on its more extraordinary capabilities, these perceptions are entirely understandable. 

Whilst commonly seen as unattainable, though, AI is anything but – and there are a multitude of ways SMEs can use AI. Here are five common types of AI your business can easily implement:


In our ‘always-on’ culture, customers expect to be able to contact customer services teams at all times. This can, of course, result in considerable additional expenditure, but there is a solution that can bridge the resultant gap.

Chatbots capable of answering frequently asked questions can be added to company websites with relative ease and, thanks to AI and pre-programmed linguistic algorithms, can regularly identify common requests irrespective of the way they are worded. Surprisingly, many automation solutions come ‘out-of-the-box’ and can be implemented without coding.

Cyber security

With organisations facing an increasingly large and constantly growing array of cyber threats – coupled with the passing of GDPR legislation and the potentially gargantuan fines that can be levelled at companies as a result – combatting this threat should be a priority concern at all organisations. The Information Commissioner's Officer recently announced that British Airways was set to be fined £183.39M for a cyber incident that compromised half a million customers' personal data.

Leveraging the power of AI and regularly analysing vast swathes of anonymised metadata and observing network behaviour, next-generation cyber security solutions such as anti-virus software, firewalls and filters are capable of identifying a greater number of threats than at any other time in history. These solutions adapt to changing landscapes and new hazards freely to provide organisations with an unprecedented level of protection.

Top 10 highest European individual fines GDPR Biggest fines for data breaches

Smart office devices

Business expenditure must always be subjected to scrutiny. Every penny that is spent must be considered and more efficient practices sought. Smart devices, installed throughout an office, can cut waste expenditure by analysing environments and adjusting lighting, heating etc. automatically in order to reduce day-to-day costs.

Many organisations are also moving towards smart receptionist automation technology, allowing visitors to sign in for meetings via a tablet that alerts their host instantly via email. Other businesses use video conferencing solutions to have a centrally based receptionist that can greet visitors at multiple sites via a TV screen.

Forecasting and analysis

It’s no secret that we, as a society, are creating data at a truly unprecedented rate. When subjected to analysis, much of this can reveal valuable information that will enable more efficient practices and processes.

Combining analytic tools with artificial intelligence and algorithms can negate the need for salient metrics to be reviewed manually. In turn, this means that results are consistently generated quickly and accurately making it far more likely that organisations can, for example, meet seasonal demands. Furthermore, the valuable insights such setups can provide can aid the decision-making process by ensuring that stakeholders are more informed.


AI and automation services may seem to be the preserve of large organisations but – whilst advanced – this technology is both accessible to and has numerous potential applications for SMEs' business processes across all industries.

Effectively harnessing these powerful tools to their full potential, however, requires a well-thought-out strategy that considers every facet of a business. To find out more about how AI and automation can propel your business forward, get in touch with ROCK’s consultancy team.

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