Improving productivity through Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for SME’s

 

There is no doubt that Machine Learning and AI are two terms which have become the new buzz words but many are not sure what it means for their business. When we speak with our clients these are some of the common misconceptions:

“It’s highly complex mathematical modeling, there’s no chance that we can apply that in our business” 

“Probably useful in big multinational businesses but not really for us”

“Sounds very expensive”

“I’ve got data but it’s all over the place and inconsistent so I don’t think we can do anything with it”

“It’ll mean less staff….”

These are some of the common themes we hear and the reality is that they are all misconceptions, although some of them may have been true in the infancy of AI but the reality is very different now.

Yes it is true that Machine Learning and AI are built on complex mathematical algorithms, but just as you don’t need to know how a plane flies to go on holiday, you don’t need to understand the maths, just the concept and how you can apply it in your business.

Big business is definitely investing heavily in AI & Machine Learning tools but the reality is that there are many tasks and operations in small and mid size businesses that can equally benefit and bring significant savings, efficiencies and even brand new revenue streams.

Is it expensive? As with all new technologies there are plenty of suppliers who are using the knowledge gap to charge ludicrous fees for very little benefit to the client. That’s why ensuring you find the right partner is probably the most important decision.

Data is the key to having good quality modelling but there is no point in waiting for all the t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted a good partner will help you identify a data extraction and data cleansing approach that is relevant to your requirements.

Will this mean that the machines will be doing my job?

This is one one of the biggest fears that people hold and while there are examples where increased process automation and AI have reduced roles our experience has been that streamlining and improving efficiencies has led to employees being able to spend more time on true value add tasks.

For example we delivered a project for a utility provider, where they had received a file from the regulator every two weeks with all the gas and electricity tariffs for all households in the market. The format of the file and the data within some fields is not consistent, has anomalies and has variations month to month. In order for the file to be used by the energy company it needs to analyse and cleanse the data, remove duplicates, correct formatting and then run manual scripts to check the data quality of the file. This process can take up to 3 working days, with significant senior resource required.  

We developed an AI/ML model which cleans and reformats the tariff file of gas and electricity suppliers.

We trained our model on existing data sets and now it removes the duplicates and fixes the values within the file and highlights any new anomalies in the data. The output file is 100% accurate and it only takes 55 seconds for the whole process from start to finish, providing significant resource and time efficiencies.

 

The outcome is an annual saving to the business of over £30,000 per annum and the ability to have senior staff focusing on  value add tasks and not data processing.

 

If you want to explore the opportunities in your business for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to add value drop us a line in info@imobisoft.co.uk

 

Blogs Perninder Dhadwar