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Global AI Survey Reveals New Opportunities for SMBs to Thrive

June 4, 2024

WSI, a global leader in digital marketing innovations, today unveiled the results of its 2024 AI Business Insights Survey. With responses from over 500 decision-makers at small and medium-sized enterprises, this survey illuminates the critical role of artificial intelligence (AI) in transforming business landscapes across diverse industries. Ultimately, the report highlights how SMBs are uniquely positioned to harness AI at all levels, turning emerging challenges into scalable opportunities.

The findings underscore a strong optimism among SMBs concerning AI, with 72% of respondents confident in AI’s capacity to help achieve business objectives within the year. This enthusiasm is tempered by a notable lack of familiarity and strategic application, highlighted by 62% of business owners admitting to a shortage of in-house AI expertise.

Valerie Brown-Dufour, President of WSI, asserts the transformative potential of AI for SMBs. “This survey underscores what we’ve been discussing with our clients—AI offers a significant competitive advantage for SMBs ready to embrace it. By providing the right tools and guidance, we’re helping these businesses not only understand but fully leverage AI to accelerate growth and outmaneuver competitors,” Brown-Dufour stated.

Similarly, only 45% of the surveyed companies engage in formal discussions about AI’s strategic impacts, signaling an urgent need for structured strategic planning. Robert Mitchell, WSI’s Chief AI Officer, emphasizes AI’s strategic significance. “Our interactions with businesses across the globe reflect a growing awareness that AI is much more than a tech upgrade—it’s a pivotal business tool. Integrating AI into their core processes enables companies to boost efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and drive innovation,” Mitchell explained.

Key Survey Findings

  • Strong enthusiasm for AI, with 72% believing it can meet business objectives within the next year.
  • A significant gap in AI training exists, with 69% of respondents lacking AI-related education in 2023 or early 2024.
  • Strategic planning gaps, with 55% of businesses not discussing AI formally.
  • Sales and Marketing functions leading in AI adoption, with 70% using AI for improved customer targeting and campaign optimization.
  • Lower AI adoption rates in Human Resources and Recruitment, IT and Cybersecurity, and Operations and Logistics.

WSI is committed to addressing these challenges by promoting AI education and providing expert consultation services to enable effective AI integration. “Educating our clients about AI and supporting them through their digital transformation is our top priority. Most of the existing research on AI adoption is heavily focused on larger, enterprise-sized businesses. This survey is a testament to our ongoing efforts with SMBs and aligns perfectly with what we have been seeing in the field,” Brown-Dufour added.

As AI becomes increasingly crucial for maintaining a competitive edge, WSI’s survey emerges as an essential resource for businesses, guiding strategic decisions and fostering effective implementation strategies.

For a deeper dive into how AI can revolutionize your business operations and to access the detailed survey results, visit WSI’s Business Resources page. You can also read more in our Press Release here. 

About the Author

Rick spent 20 years in the insurance industry in finance, primarily developing reporting platforms for B & C stakeholders.   His ability to speak to consumers of data (managers and analysts) and translate their needs to programmers led him to start his own digital marketing agency in 2004 to develop data driven solutions for business owners. 

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