Response to Assignment 1 (Part A) – Vicky Gregory – Word count 838
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face several difficulties in the implementation of AI. Factors influencing this including cost, lack of skills, and their technological infrastructure may be out of date (Bhalerao 2018). These same issues were reiterated in a subsequent paper, but also suggested that the competitive position of SMEs could be affected by a failure to a update (Bhalerao et al. 2022). These issues are mentioned consistently across the literature and highlighted further by Von Garrel and Jahn (2021) who suggest that if SMEs fail to keep pace and innovate with AI that they will dilute their current competitive advantage in the market. The literature also suggests that through the implementation of AI, that SMEs can improve competitive advantage and potentially compete better with larger organisations (Cekuls 2023).
Gregory’s selected critical capability
Gregory (2023) has identified the use of either Google Workspace or Microsoft Office as the singular most important opportunity for her business. This is effectively the same choice made by Raftis (2023a) for his organisation as well. So why would two completely different and yet small organisations select the same solution?
Both solutions will be readily available in the near future. Google has not yet announced pricing for Duet, however it has been suggested it will be US$30 (A$45) per month per user (Google Duet AI Pricing Revealed! Enable Passkeys via open beta, Smart Compose comes to Chat and more 2023). Interestingly, Microsoft 365 will also be the same price (Yusuf & Spataro 2023). It is interesting to note that the two behemoths of the tech industry have identical pricing on their products.
Human Resources and Technology
Having the human resources and skills to implement AI in small business could always have been a problem. The same applies for compute power. The appealing aspect of either of these office suites is that most small businesses would already be running one or the other. The base knowledge of application usage will already exist so in theory at least, it will be like deploying an update of the software. What will be different from viewing the videos referenced in Gregory (2023) is the power of the applications and users learning to harness that power for the benefit of the organisation. For this reason, training will be critical, as according to Shetty (2013), focus needs to be on the people using the software and not the applications themselves.
There are considerable advantages in deploying software from either Google or Microsoft from an ethical perspective. The fact that they are both so widely used in society could be seen as a vote of confidence. It would be difficult for others to criticise the use of such tools if they are using them also. Both Google and Microsoft have extensive code of conduct statements, which in turn, organisations rely on being applied to their products (Alphabet Inc. 2023; Microsoft n.d.).
Other potential opportunities
Suggestions in this section of the reply should be carefully considered due to the rapid evolving of the AI marketplace. There appear to be a plethora of new applications appearing on the market every day. Deployment of some of these may end badly if companies fail. That said, and considering that there are any number of potential tools that could be considered, this post shall confine itself to two.
GPT-4 is an obvious consideration for small business and requires a subscription to GPT Plus to gain access to all features. Their code interpreter gives GPT the ability to build Python scripts to run queries. An organisation can upload CSV files and obtain a range of graphs from GPT-4. In the video below, a CSV file from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been used as an example of data extraction. Small business good gather remarkable insights by using such techniques. The example examines insolvencies over six years. It demonstrates that it would not be a good idea to open an insolvency practice in the Greater Sydney Area based on the trends.
AI generated Presentation Decks
Small businesses are always presenting to a wide range of people. Traditional methods of generating slide decks for these purposes can take considerable amounts of time. There are now AI tools available to generate slide decks based on a prompt. Not only will they generate the deck, but also images and the text. All of this is editable of course by a human who can also add additional images, text, videos, slides and even a personal recording. A demonstration of Journey can be seen below (Raftis 2023b).