What is holding back companies from the introduction of AI?

These are the challenges when introducing AI in medium-sized companies

The middle class is the economic backbone of Germany. It is all the more important that medium-sized companies continue to be innovative and adaptable. This will become particularly important in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčartificial intelligence (AI) in the next few years. Because the potential of AI is enormous. The management consultancy McKinsey even assumes that AI can help German gross domestic product to grow by 1.3 percent by 2030. There is in AI Consequently significantly more potential than once in the steam engine - which once had a growth effect of 0.3 percent of GDP.

AI in medium-sized businesses: what are the obstacles?

But it seems that a large part of the SME sector is still finding it difficult to adapt to the constantly evolving conditions of digitization and to benefit from it. A survey of the accompanying research Medium-sized digital among experts from research and associations is alarming: A full 70 percent fear that German SMEs could be left behind in the course of international AI development. The experts' answers also provide information about the largest construction sites that SMEs have to face.

The obstacles to adopting AI in medium-sized companies. Source: Mittelstand-digital

# 1 Lack of expertise

The shortage of skilled workers is a well-known problem in the German economy. Experts from research and associations reflect this: They all agree that a lack of know-how or a lack of specialists is a strong (36%) or very strong (64%) obstacle to the implementation of AI solutions in medium-sized companies. IT specialists in particular are rare on the job market. In this battle for personnel, medium-sized companies can often hardly compete with the high salaries paid by large companies.

# 2 Insufficient database

A lack of data is particularly relevant for small and medium-sized companies. Because due to the smaller company size it is the internal data potential for SMEs is lower than for large companies. There is simply not enough data collected overall. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, requires large amounts of data in order to train with it and to be able to make valid statements.

# 3 Inadequate digital infrastructure

The provision of digital infrastructure is usually associated with great financial outlay. In addition, technologies are evolving so quickly that permanent investments are necessary at short intervals become. No wonder many companies shy away from it. In addition, there is the already mentioned problem of a lack of expertise within the company.

The experts see the limited financial resources as the slightest obstacle. This shows that investing in AI fail mainly because of the implementationbut not the financial framework.

Solution approaches for AI in medium-sized companies: Integration vs. AI-as-a-Service

How can this implementation succeed and what possible uses of artificial intelligence are available to medium-sized companies? In general, there are two options for implementing AI in a company. On the one hand, it is possible to integrate intelligent systems into your own processes, products and services (active use of AI). On the other hand, there is the option of using third-party services, so-called KI-as-a-service products (passive AI use).


The result of the expert survey by Mittelstand-Digital shows that both active and passive AI use is becoming relevant in medium-sized companies, while passive plays a more important role. The reason for this is that the cooperation with specialized KI-as-a-service providers are often more needs-based is. By cooperating with external service providers, medium-sized companies save costly investments in specialist staff and infrastructure.

AI applications in e-commerce: the chance to differentiate

Medium-sized providers in e-commerce have to struggle with different challenges than medium-sized companies in other areas. Because that is different from the German economy in general E-commerce firmly in the hands of a few big players. In view of this platform economy, it is advisable for medium-sized companies to choose a position in the market that sets them apart from their competitors. One of the most promising ways to achieve this is through the introduction of Artificial Intelligence. A study by the CMS manufacturer SitecoreAccording to the already flowing largest investments in medium-sized e-commerce in AI applicationsThis applies in particular to the introduction of chatbots and virtual personal shoppers. These Applications aim to compensate for one of the greatest disadvantages of e-commerce compared to stationary retail: How do you create the most individual shopping experience possible with good advice in digital space? Chatbots and personal shoppers help web shops to offer the right products at any time or to be quickly available for questions and hints.

In 2019, medium-sized e-commerce providers invested the most heavily in AI applications. Source: Sitecore

Other AI applications offer practical solutions for specific problems in e-commerce. For customers, all offers for a product are just a few clicks away online. How do you do it in the face of this high price transparency, continue your Maintain and improve market position? The best way to do this is through strategic pricing based on current market data. Given the immense number of providers and products, you can only get this with the help of AI applications such as blackbee Insightsthat are specially designed for this task.

blackbee Insights collects data on prices, products and providers worldwide and prepares the information for you. Convince yourself of the advantages of the innovative market analysis tool.

Keywords:AI, artificial intelligence, medium-sized businesses