The Time has come: more AI for SMES

Best Paper award for publication by the Digitization and Management Research Group

By Katrin Reil

The time has come for artificial intelligence (AI) in small and medium-sized enterprises! This thesis is supported by a team in the research group Digitisation & Management at ESB Business School in its research paper “The Time Has Come – Application of Artificial Intelligence in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises”. The paper received the Best Paper award at the 17th International Conference on Business Informatics (WI 2022).

“Artificial intelligence is not yet very widespread in small and medium-sized companies”, says Daniel Kiefer, who is a member of the research team together with Professor Dr Clemens van Dinther and Dr Tim Straub. The reasons for this, Kiefer continues, are manifold and range from a lack of understanding of use cases to poorly trained staff and from data gaps. 

The researchers see great potential in AI solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. In their article, they present a successful, design-oriented case study of a medium-sized company. On the basis of existing data on material requirements and with the help of a so-called gradient boosting machine as an AI solution, forecasts for future requirements were made. With simple techniques, an improvement of 15 % could be achieved compared to the status quo.

In their research paper, the scientists present their motivation, method and initial results. Finally, challenges are addressed from which practitioners can derive learning experiences and impulses for their own projects.

The panel of experts at the International Conference on Business Informatics (WI 2022) was also impressed by the research group’s work. With the award as Best Paper in the Business Analytics Talks track, the article is one of the best 23 of the around 1,500 contributions submitted.

“We are delighted that we have been able to hold our own in an environment of first-class publications by leading research universities and that we have even been able to place ourselves at the top. At the same time, we naturally hope first and foremost that small and medium-sized companies in particular will benefit from our work. Those looking for pragmatic solutions and willing to deal with the topic openly can only benefit from AI in SMEs”, says Daniel Kiefer on behalf of the whole research team.  

The research paper “The Time Has Come – Application of Artificial Intelligence in Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises” can be downloaded here free of charge.