Is machine learning out of reach for small to medium sized businesses?

While there is much hype around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions, when implemented properly it is a huge competitive advantage. There are 3 common strategies companies employ to leverage an AI\ML solution.

  • Build internally from scratch

This approach requires the greatest amount of effort and capital. It also requires that you have large volumes of data in house for training and building models. Additionally, you must have the required staff expertise to gather, transform, and process input data. No to mention the staff talent to create the logic for the actual AI and ML process. This approach does have the benefit of being fully customized to your business.

  • Partner with AL\ML Vendor Company

Partnering with a vendor for the creation of AI solutions is a hybrid approach. This still requires significant effort and expense, but much less than creating you own solution from the ground up. Most of the effort is split between gathering and preparing data, and modifying tools and processes to get valuable outcomes.

  • Use an AI\ML Tool

Off the shelf AI and ML tools are commercially available to address many situations. This approach requires the least effort and expense, but is also the least customized to your business. You will be offered little in the way of customization to conform to the nuances of your business. If your use case is straight forward, it might be a quick solution. Most of the effort spent on these solutions are gathering data and conforming it to be usable by the AI tool.

Once a strategy is selected, there are additional considerations. Do I have a meaningful dataset? Small to medium companies often do not have datasets that are large enough to build meaningful models, this does not have to be the end of the road as there are other approaches to work around this. Another consideration is the user interface for the tool. How do you access the solution to get the value out of your investment? Where should these components of AI and ML be integrated into your overall workflow?

Cloud computing solutions are continually evolving to make these AI solutions more accessible everyday. It is within many small businesses reach to leverage these solutions today. Selecting the correct strategy, and addressing these additional considerations are vital to tapping into the power of AI for your organization.

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