By now, you’ve probably grown accustomed to having Artificial Intelligence play a significant role in your life. Every time you ask Alexa to lower the volume on your SmartSpeaker or ask Siri a question, you’re talking to AI.
When Gmail offers to help you write a Smart Reply, or filters those get-rich-quick scheme emails into your spam folder, it’s using machine learning and AI to do it.
AI and SaaS for Business
If you own your own business or manage a team, you’re likely already using a number of tools, like Attentive, that utilize AI—whether you know what’s going on behind the dashboard or not.
No doubt you’re also familiar with SaaS, the subscription-based software model where all the computing takes place in the cloud, and you typically get billed once a month or annually. SaaS is now so prevalent in business, there’s even a SaaS to make sure you maximize your ROI on SaaS.
The global revenue from SaaS in 2019 is predicted to be $85 billion. By 2022, that number is expected to increase to $278 billion – that’s an increase of 225%.
AI is increasingly baked into B2B SaaS solutions, such as CRM giants Salesforce and HubSpot, and there is a thriving market for SaaS solutions that extend the core functionality of these and many other platforms.
SaaS is Changing Accounting
Accounting is one vital business process vastly improved by SaaS. Maintaining solid records for your business has never been easier, thanks to apps like Xero and QuickBooks. Both apps sync automatically with your bank accounts and payment processors, potentially saving countless hours better spent growing your business.
Few people relish the drudgery of bookkeeping, but maintaining accurate and verifiable financials—preferably from inception— is crucial for any business. This is even truer if you ever plan to sell your company.
Even if an exit isn’t yet on your radar, access to detailed and accurate financial reporting—preferably in real-time—can help you chart a smoother, steadier path to success. (If you’re ever curious what your online business is worth, reach out to the seasoned M&A advisors at FE International for a free valuation.)
AI is Changing Talent Development
One AI-based solution geared towards improving employee experience on the job is IBM Watson Talent Development. As one component of Watson’s AI-powered suite of HR tools, Talent Development helps managers and business owners identify employee strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to be better contributors and increasing job satisfaction.
Research shows that over 50% of organizations have difficulty retaining valued employee groups. But 78% of employees say a clearer career path would compel them to stay. Talent Development uses the power of AI to create personalized “career paths.” Given today’s tight job market, any tool that helps boost employee retention can also boost your bottom line.
Despite recent advances in AI and the SaaS applications that utilize it, AI’s greatest strengths lie in crunching vast amounts of data and enabling people to do a better job, rather than replacing them. This is why IBM refers to AI as “augmentation intelligence” rather than Artificial Intelligence.
Watch This Space
While AI and SaaS already shape business processes and strategy, there are many exciting developments just around the corner. For some, AI still conjures up negative images of robots and humans being replaced by machines. When a technological innovation arguably on par with the internet and the automobile comes along, some disruption and displacement are inevitable.
For many though, AI will substantially improve their lives, both at home and at work.
No matter what industry you’re in, there are undoubtedly AI-based SaaS tools that can improve your business processes and inform your strategy. Spending time sifting through the available tools could pay massive dividends.
Thomas Smale founded FE International in 2010, growing the business with zero funds from scratch to a seven-figure-a-year business. Specializing in advising and brokering the sale of established websites and online businesses, FE International has completed over 650 transactions. Smale has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.