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The Great SMEs Strategic Shift: Accelerating SMEs Growth through Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has been the talk of the town in recent years. From tech people in the startup field to the higher-ups corporate office workers are interested in tapping into these trends. Going down a little bit to the landscape of SMEs, however, there’s a noticeable gap when it comes to AI’s integration for their business.

While large corporations and tech-focused startups have been quick to embrace AI, SMEs (especially in Southeast Asia) are yet to fully utilize the potential benefits; from the complexity and cost concerns to a lack of awareness regarding the tangible advantages AI can bring to their business. However, SMEs must recognize that AI is not a luxury but a strategic tool that can elevate their operations and competitiveness.

Amazon Web Services has shared their research which indicates that Indonesian SMEs can contribute around 79,6 billion Rupiah every year by implementing AI. Implementing AI in SMEs requires a strategic and tailored approach. Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, businesses should consider their specific needs and industry dynamics. Cloud-based AI services offer a cost-effective entry point for SMEs, allowing them to access sophisticated AI capabilities without significant infrastructure investments.


Here’s how SMEs can fully grasp AI’s potential!


AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants are revolutionizing customer interactions, enhancing customer engagement, and improving customer satisfaction through AI-powered customer support systems, such as chatbots or virtual assistants. These technologies not only facilitate instant responses but also offer a personalized touch, fostering stronger customer relationships.

In terms of operation, with its various benefits for SMEs, the implementation of Artificial Intelligence has been proven to be able to significantly increase operational efficiency to reach the range of 35-55%, according to McKinsey. From inventory management to routine administrative processes, this allows entrepreneurs to focus on strategic aspects of their businesses.

implementing artificial intelligence in SME's business

One other thing that SMEs need to accelerate their growth is the decision-making process. With access to accurate and timely data, AI analytics tools are empowering small businesses in Asia with actionable insights. This strategic advantage allows businesses to respond promptly to market dynamics and consumer trends faster.

We cannot ignore how AI has impacted the way marketing works for every business nowadays as AI is reshaping marketing strategies for small businesses by enabling targeted and personalized campaigns. The ability to analyze consumer behavior and preferences equips SMEs with the tools to optimize marketing spending and maximize returns on investment while also increasing customer conversion rates for businesses by leveraging AI in their marketing efforts.

Though the benefits are there, SMEs still face several challenges in fully grasping the full potential of AI for their businesses. These challenges stem from a combination of economic, cultural, and technological factors.

Many Indonesian SMEs operate with limited financial and human resources. The initial investment required for AI implementation, including software, hardware, and training, can be a significant barrier.

There is a general lack of awareness and understanding of AI among SMEs. Many business owners may not fully comprehend the potential benefits or how to integrate it into their operations. Additionally, a shortage of skilled AI professionals in the job market makes it difficult for SMEs to find and retain the necessary expertise.

SMEs may struggle with determining the scalability of AI solutions. While they may successfully implement AI in specific areas, scaling up across the entire business can be a complex process. Ensuring that AI solutions can grow alongside the business is a critical consideration.

Despite these challenges, there is a growing recognition among Indonesian SMEs regarding the importance of embracing AI for sustained growth and competitiveness. Government support, industry collaborations, and educational programs can contribute to addressing these challenges and empowering SMEs to unlock the full potential of AI for their businesses.

From the course of 2022-2023, KUMPUL.ID has introduced the strategy and implementation of digital marketing to more than 50.000 SMEs of various product category through PerempuanBijakBerusaha.id and MSMEs Development Program, as the bridge and opening for local SMEs to embrace digitalization for their business, for then to develop more awareness to implement digital tools and AI as part of their business strategy.


by Adhitya Putra
Realising A Cloud-Enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Micro, Small, And Medium-Sized Businesses. Amazon Web Services. 2023.
How Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Today’s Small Businesses. Taylor, Charles. Forbes. 9 Aug. 2023
How Small Businesses Are Using AI – And How Your Business Can Benefit Too. Hare, Neil. Forbes. 17 Nov. 2023.

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