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Artificial Intelligence: Is the pandemic a turning point?

The disruption caused by COVID-19 may be a technology turning point for many businesses and specifically an acceleration in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Business owners and leaders are seeking fast, accurate insights and analytics to help them make better decisions in the rapidly evolving business landscape.

Leaders have been forecasting scenarios such as: Can I afford to pay my staff if customers delay payment terms by 15 days? Can I stay in business if all staff take a 30 per cent cut in full time pay and work four days a week?

This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in.

Aussie-based AI software, Cenario, has seen the increased demand firsthand as their customer sign ups have soared globally since the pandemic escalated.

Launched just last year, Cenario is a financial planning software that uses intelligent AI models to provide advanced analytics on a business’s forecasting and budgeting in a simple way.

It aims to make business decisions simple by aggregating all financial data in one spot to give leaders a better understanding of company cash flow.

Currently Cenario is seeing between 30-40 businesses signing up everyday, with a total of over 1,200 businesses using the platform.

Cenario co-founder, Vaibhav Namburi said that the impacts of COVID-19 had led to many business owners pivoting to digital business models and seeking support from technology to help manage this transition and growth period.

Cenario co-founder, Vaibhav Namburi

“On the platform we have seen a 50% increase in SaaS and ecommerce businesses signing up last month (April 2020) as companies pivot to new business models and go digital,” said Mr Namburi.

“60% of these online businesses are using the platform for analytics to track growth, measure high performing customers and optimise budgets as they tighten them and get smarter with where they spend their money.

“While we are Australian based and marketed globally, we have seen almost half (47%) of our customers come from the US with the SMB space there more ready to embrace this technology.

“Compared to our Australian customers, US founders are more cash-focused and strategic. They are moving at a faster pace and are more open to risk and failure in their efforts to achieve scale and growth. Outside of this we have seen an uptick in users from Spain, Columbia and Russia,” he added.

Over the last month, Cenario has seen an increase in engagement by 70% with customers logging in more often to get updated analytics as conditions change with the evolving restrictions of COVID-19.

As COVID-19 restrictions were announced in March 2020, business owners were busy forecasting these top five scenarios on Cenario:

  • Removing an employee
  • Client payment delays
  • Default invoices, loss of customer
  • Selling office equipment
  • Credit interest

Mr Namburi said that the advanced analytics and insights from in-built machine learning models gives business owners confidence in making the right business decision during this uncertain time.

Artificial intelligence related:

“The software allows business owners to predict as best as they can what’s to come, prepare financially, and feel more in control of how they can manage cash flow through this challenging time.

“AI models take into account seasonality, company past performance, type of scenario, number of employees, type of business, how similar businesses have performed, and more when forecasting outcomes to create the most accurate model,” he said.

Cenario was co-founded in 2019 by Vaibhav Namburi and Dan Siepen with a vision to make business simple, and provide an ‘AI’ CFO. Moving forward, it aims to increase financial literacy and data accessibility for business owners of every size and across all sectors.

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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