Expert interview

Interview with Alberto Pascual on Artificial Intelligence applied to SMEs

06 Jul 2023. 17:43
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  • SME maturity
    All
    Topic
    1. Tools
    Scope to digitize
    1. ICT infrastructure

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We interview Alberto Pascual, expert in Artificial Intelligence.

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  1. What are the most relevant AI applications for SMEs and self-employed today? 

I believe that Artificial Intelligence is now mature enough to help simplify all tasks related to marketing and sales. They can already be used to produce texts to optimize inbound marketing, i.e., content-driven attraction marketing, to generate free images, to design advertising pieces including optimized website design, and for general network presence.  

In addition, they can be used to develop product and service presentations in terms of marketing, in terms of sales, natural language chatbots can already be used to interact with customers, thus multiplying the responsiveness of the company or freelancer, and sales pitches and issue management can be developed, anticipating those that are most common. Also, the automatic design of questionnaires for customers that allow us to anticipate their needs and adapt the service to their particularities. 

It is also possible to analyze the potential risk of non-payment, late payment, as this is always one of the main enemies of small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed. In addition, identify competitors or potential customers who are already similar or have similar characteristics to the current users of our products or services. Finally, make a sales forecast that considers the entire economic context in which our activity takes place. 

  1. What are the benefits of using AI for SMEs and self-employed? 

I believe that each of the use cases I mentioned above means time savings and greater efficiency in many of the tasks that until now we have been carrying out in a very traditional way. They do not, therefore, free up hours that we can spend on those aspects in which we humans are still unique, as they are responses to mechanisms in our brains that we do not yet know and that, therefore, cannot be replicated by a machine. 

  1. What steps can SMEs take to start implementing AI in their operations in a simple way? 

I am a strong advocate of specialization at work. I believe that humanity began to advance precisely when we began to specialize, and that is why I believe that we need to draw on the experience of the whole wide range of Digital Agents. Red.es and Acelera pyme have put this at the service of the entire business fabric to also benefit from the economic aid they offer us. I believe that this is the most effective way to implement these new technologies that can also help our business to take an exponential leap forward. We are very used to thinking linearly, taking eight linear steps, going eight metres, but taking them exponentially means going millions of kilometers. I believe that these Digitising Agents are going to help us identify which of our current processes can be improved using technology. I think they are the best company and right now, with this figure of the Digitalising Agent, I think they are totally affordable for SMEs as well as for the self-employed or for companies of any size. 

  1. What free or low-cost AI tools are available for SMEs and self-employed to improve their operations? 

New technology consumption models, subscription or pay-per-use models, have greatly democratised access to applications that were previously reserved for large corporations due to their cost. The most popular and versatile generative Artificial Intelligence applications, such as ChatGPT, or Dall-e in the case of images, which allow us to develop many of the functions that we are developing in SMEs, all have free versions and can be a good start. But let's not forget that the purpose of these free versions is to promote their use in order to train and perfect their algorithms and contents, so some imperfection in the results is to be expected. That is why I personally recommend the use of commercial and approved applications, and there are affordable ones in subscription or pay-per-use consumption models. In each of the areas I can give you some examples such as Windsor in the case of video, or in the case of images, AI Dreamer. These are applications that we have been testing ourselves. In the case of text, Jasper.ai, in the case of design, perhaps Galileo AI could be a good option and in the case of presentations, SlidesAI could also be a good choice. In audio Soundful is perhaps one of the best options, and then there are also productivity options, such as Lumen5 or Jenni AI. 

  1. How can SMEs and self-employed address the ethical and legal concerns surrounding the use of AI? 

Regarding the first ethical concerns, I would encourage us to make use of something that machines have not yet been able to emulate, which is our ability to think critically, first and foremost. And that we are capable of drawing from different sources, of carrying out tests and analysing the results that Artificial Intelligence provides us with before publishing anything, we must apply the filter of our critical thinking to it. 

As for cybersecurity, I think that right now any small company, much less a self-employed person, can afford to have the capabilities of a large corporation that has a CISO, capable of establishing the policies and incorporating the technologies necessary to ensure that security at all times. What I do recommend is that we turn to managed security providers that can offer us the same subscription and pay-per-use models that can provide us with that type of shielding that allows us to operate with total confidence. 

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