December 4, 2023 By Raj Datta 3 min read

Generative AI holds enormous potential for driving business growth. It offers ease of integration and scalability for analytics and AI workloads using your company’s data, and offers guardrails for ensuring governance, security and compliance. So, why do millions of small enterprises believe that impactful AI is only accessible to big companies with deep pockets?  

Business leaders overestimate the resources required to pursue AI, often unaware of the available technology and training. Let’s get straight to the point: your company cannot afford to wait any longer. If you’re a business leader not pursuing AI, rest assured that your competition is, and you risk falling behind. It’s time to dispel the 3 myths hindering small businesses.  

Myth 1: My company lacks the right tools and platforms to develop trustworthy AI 

AI can be a game-changer for businesses looking to improve operations in areas such as IT, HR, marketing and customer service. We aren’t referring to conversational AI chatbots that generate answers to general questions with little transparency into their training or data. Today, you can integrate enterprise-grade AI that provides access to hundreds of pre-trained models and a set of AI assistants to scale and accelerate the impact of your business.  

The companies innovating with generative AI aren’t just industry giants. For example, the online education startup Make Music Count used IBM watsonx™ AI and data platform to customize lesson plans for students on its learning platform, enabling them to ask questions and receive real-time math support through chat. Similar integrations empower small businesses to help individuals across their organizations augment work with AI without requiring expert knowledge of the technology, creating a better user experience while saving resources. 

Another critical component of myth No. 1 is the term “trustworthy.” It’s a valid concern, which is why IBM empowers small businesses to train, tune and govern their AI using reliable data and governance capabilities. We have incorporated transparency into our AI models and openly share the data sources used for their training. We also provide the same contractual intellectual property protections for IBM-developed AI models as we do for all our products, reinforcing trust in businesses’ AI journeys.  

Myth 2: AI is too complex and expensive for my company to build from scratch 

Historically, AI has been perceived as a complicated, expensive and time-consuming endeavor. That’s no longer the case. Take the example of fertility care provider Ovum Health, which recently worked with IBM to integrate IBM watsonx™ AI Assistant from IBM’s portfolio of embeddable AI technologies into its website and mobile app in less than 60 days. AI helps Ovum Health scale its user base by engaging patients more effectively and addressing fertility questions verified by a panel of board-certified healthcare experts.  

Unfamiliar with embeddable AI? IBM offers a portfolio of technologies, including watsonx, AI libraries, applications and APIs that can be tailored to suit different needs. This means that companies of all sizes can build AI-powered solutions in less time with fewer resources.  

Additionally, the introduction of foundation models—which are trained on a wide range of unlabeled data and require minimal fine-tuning for different tasks—makes it easier for companies to deploy AI in various mission-critical situations. This reduces the time spent labeling data and the need for experienced developers to program models. 

Myth 3: My company lacks the right skills and expertise to develop AI 

Skilled partners are essential for unlocking the full potential of generative AI for clients. That’s why, within a week of announcing watsonx, IBM provided partners with the same technical and sales enablement materials offered to employees. Partners could immediately acquire watsonx skills and bring them to their organizations and clients. Partners also have access to cloud credits, technical expertise, demand generation support and co-marketing assistance for developing and selling AI solutions.  

But we didn’t stop there: AI is too important, and building the right skills to support its rapid growth is vital. That’s why any developer or IT practitioner can also access free generative AI educational courses designed by experts who create training for 8 million developers through Coursera and other platforms.  

Learn how IBM can help your company overcome the myths surrounding AI adoption 

AI adoption doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. In fact, with the technology and support available today, even early-stage startups can access watsonx on a Friday and be up and running by Tuesday. We have even tested this theory with more than 200,000 IBMers, many with little to no coding experience, participating in a hackathon to create watsonx applications. 

The next era of business will be characterized by the ability to incorporate AI. If your company is not actively exploring how AI can impact its operations, you run the risk of falling behind. Now that we have debunked these adoption myths, we hope any doubts that small enterprises had can be put aside and your company can get down to business…with AI for business.  

Learn more about partnering with IBM and watsonx Read: 4 ways to empower small and medium businesses with generative AI
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