Artificial Intelligence implementations can be game changers for companies of all sizes, but the potential impact for middle market organizations is especially heightened. BPM Partners Fred Rica and Bryan Rhody explain why.
Although Artificial Intelligence has existed for years, it is now taking the world by storm — transforming our personal and professional lives in the process. In this environment, many companies, both large and small, are beginning to understand the power that this technology can bring to their operations. However, we see specific and outsized benefits for firms that traditionally fall into the “middle market” category.
We think these organizations, in particular, have the potential to experience more impactful operational improvements from process automation than their larger counterparts. This has the potential to further level the playing field across sectors, much like the internet did to commerce decades ago.
When we’re considering how to leverage AI in our own operations and advising clients on their AI strategies, we keep three core principles in mind:
- AI is not new, and it is here to stay. It is not a question of if you should consider implementing AI into your operations. It is a matter of how and where you can best leverage it. AI is not a recent phenomenon; it has been around for decades. However, generative AI has recently taken operational use cases into new territory as a growing number of companies explore its potential, causing a fundamental shift — on par with the internet and the cloud — that is reshaping the future of commerce.
- AI is a positive force. AI is disrupting and transforming certain professions. We view this as a net positive development — increasing value and enabling workers to spend time on more complex projects and developing future innovations. AI can also optimize learning and training to provide more effective programs tailored to each individual’s needs and support improved performance outcomes.
- Security and controls are key. Great potential is attainable through an effective AI strategy, but there is also an increased possibility of risk. It is critical for businesses to consider how they will protect, monitor and control their AI implementation — and particularly, what guardrails they will put around it.
Unique advantages for middle market firms that leverage AI
We see an outsized and important role for AI to play within middle market firms. Specifically, AI can help you:
- “Play bigger” without making substantial investments in headcount by letting your teams spend their time on higher value tasks.
- Achieve a “force multiplier” effect — in other words, it can help your team do more with less so you can “punch above your weight” in the marketplace.
- Function like a larger firm, thanks to increased operational efficiency within your day-to-day workflow.
- Scale quickly and at marginal cost, which is critical for the fast-growth firm often found in the middle market segment.
A closer look at AI’s impact on middle market recruiting and retention
Middle market companies are often competing against larger firms to attract and retain top talent. Perhaps a not-so-commonly discussed solution to this challenge is AI. Ambitious job seekers and employees are not looking to be bogged down in the manual tasks that have historically been associated with entry-level roles. With successful AI implementations, time-intensive, routine work will likely be minimized. In this scenario, even your most junior employees can better contribute to your organization’s impact from day one — helping them move up the value chain faster. This is a benefit to your hiring and retention efforts and to your company’s long-term success.
Where to start with AI?
If you’re not currently in the process of considering how AI can add value to your operations, then you are behind your competition. But where do you start? To help you think about how to frame your AI story, we offer four steps to guide you as you kick off, expand and operationalize AI within your company:
Step 1: Identify your current use of AI.
Step 2: Define AI use cases to test and validate.
Step 3: Focus on high-impact, quick wins.
Step 4: Scale your AI use across the organization.
How BPM can help
Now’s the time to begin your AI journey so you can keep pace with your competition. Our seasoned professionals across Advisory, Technology, Cyber Risk and more are leading the charge to bring artificial intelligence and process automation to middle market companies. As a middle market firm ourselves, we know firsthand about the opportunities, risks and challenges that AI offers as we work to implement these principles in our own operations. Contact us today to get started on your AI journey.