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AI solutions pay off for businesses

The majority of Aussie businesses said that they utilised the services of at least four different AI technology and service providers to successfully implement an AI project,  according to a new report from the National AI Centre (NAIC).

In fact, 28 per cent of respondents worked with over six different providers, while only 17 per cent relied on a single pro to complete their projects.

NAIC was created to further develop Australia’s AI and digital ecosystem, with funding from the Australian Government and coordination from the country’s national science agency, CSIRO.

The AI ecosystem in Australia is rapidly evolving as businesses leverage AI technology to generate new revenue streams and improve efficiencies. However, these developments are not without challenges, as companies must navigate the complex landscape of the AI ecosystem in Australia.

The report highlights Australian businesses’ growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance efficiency and increase revenue. The report, which is funded by the Australian Government and managed by CSIRO, the national science agency, emphasises the importance of collaboration in achieving successful AI implementation and advancing the country’s AI and digital ecosystem.

Director of the National AI Centre, Stela Solar, said AI has evolved from a futuristic promise to a rapidly growing priority for business leaders across Australia.

“Our research shows Australian businesses reported an average revenue growth of $361,315 for each AI-enabled solution that was implemented, regardless of which part of the business these efforts were targeted,” Ms Solar said.

“Over 80 per cent of businesses surveyed expected their year-on-year revenue to grow, with technology at the centre of their growth strategies,” she said. 

Ms Solar said businesses need to feel confident that they can access the right mix of skills if they are to take advantage of the opportunities offered by AI.

“As the AI landscape continues to evolve, we may move closer to having AI providers that can provide end-to-end solutions,” Ms Solar said.

“But for now, businesses should be comfortable with the idea of working alongside several providers to ensure they get complete solutions that deliver business outcomes.

“Before they start thinking about working with external partners for their projects, business leaders should take the time to understand where AI can deliver benefits across their business.

“AI project exploration should start with identifying priority business outcomes before moving to assess whether this is a unique challenge that will require a bespoke solution or if the solution already exists in a pre-configured or packaged form,” she said. 

James Bergin, Executive GM – Technology Strategy & Integration at Xero, said: “Small businesses should consider the tools and processes at the heart of their business and educate themselves on how AI technology might assist them in their business. 

“AI-powered products can already streamline small repetitive tasks that Australian business owners need to do again and again over the course of a day, thereby allowing them to take their focus away from that repetitive work and use that time for more high-value jobs needed to operate a business. 

“We already see AI at work within many platforms today, without the need for the small business to do anything. AI actually is usually working best when you don’t even know it’s there. For example, in Xero AI allows us to provide smart suggestions for bank reconciliations and cash flow predictions to small business owners.

The pace with which AI technology is evolving and being made available to more people also indicates that there is going to be even more opportunity in the near future for solving small business problems in different ways with new tools and capabilities.

“More generally, there is clearly a significant opportunity right now for small business owners to experience financial and productivity gains from investing in technology. There is evidence that businesses that embrace digital and cloud technology generate higher revenues, suffer fewer job losses and experience faster payment times than those that don’t.”

Research from Xero shows that Australian small businesses in the top 25 per cent of ICT expenditure saw $34,800 more in sales throughout 2020, while those in the top quartile of ICT spenders also saw one-third of job losses compared to small businesses in the lower 25 per cent, and were also consistently paid faster.

“We know that small business owners want to keep up to date with new technologies but can often feel apprehensive or overwhelmed with all the information out there. Technologies like AI, blockchain and cryptocurrency are on the radar of small business owners to help them understand these tools better and the practical applications they can have in their business. 

“We have seen the demand for more education on this from our small business customers, so we’ve recently created our own educational series that explains these benefits.”

Read the AI ecosystem report. Find AI partners on the AI Ecosystem Discoverability Platform.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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