How AI Could Help Small Businesses

Cloud SME

Alex sipped her latte, her elbows atop the service counter. Each day at this time, the sunlight through the front window blanketed her coffee shop and she enjoyed a few moments of peace and quiet before the morning rush began. With 30 minutes to spare before she corralled her baristas for their morning pep talk (and shot of espresso), she unlocked her iPad and pulled up her most valuable assistant: her small business dashboard. In seconds, Alex’s supply advisor scoured her accounts, sales and expense histories, local weather forecasts, event information, and past tourism data, and told her she would need five new sets of filters and 1,000 plastic cups for the coming week. She ordered them from Amazon with a single touch.

Alex also knew the shop needed a new espresso machine, but she had been putting it off for over a month. With the savings in her account, she could either order the new machine now or make a payment on the term loan she had taken out two years ago to start the business. If she continued to put off a replacement, the machine could break at any moment, and espresso was the second-best selling item on the menu (after iced coffee). On the other hand, she was almost done paying off her loan, and procrastinating another month would add interest.

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