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AI saving time and costs for 87% of SMEs: CBA

by Charlotte Humphrys11 minute read

The introduction of artificial intelligence for small businesses around Australia has shown savings in time and costs, the major bank has said.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has revealed new data showing that 87 per cent of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have introduced AI into their businesses have reported cost and time savings.

CBA’s data was collected in partnership with research company YouGov, with 510 Australian SME business owners and senior decision-makers surveyed between 12 and 19 April.

It revealed that 25 per cent of SMEs have already invested in AI and 34 per cent plan to invest in the next five years.


The research also found that 66 per cent of SMEs that use AI in their business had done so to improve efficiency and productivity in their business operations.

Many brokers (themselves being business owners) have similarly started to adopt AI in their operations to improve productivity and efficiency and reduce the administrative burden.

Younger business owners are more likely to use AI in their businesses, according to CBA, with 75 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials saying they have invested or have intent to invest in the tech.

CBA noted, however, that 55 per cent of Gen X use or are planning to use AI and this fell to 45 per cent for Baby Boomers.

More than half (56 per cent) of SMEs agreed that investing in AI technology was important to achieve business growth. However, out of the 510 respondents, 80 per cent reported having barriers in their businesses to start using or further invest in AI.

A third of respondents were also concerned about data security, which they said was a barrier to adopting AI, with a further 28 per cent citing lack of knowledge of AI as their largest concern.

The data found that 28 per cent of respondents lacked financial resources to invest in AI.

CBA’s executive general manager for small-business banking Rebecca Warren said that AI has opportunities for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

She said: “In response to market challenges, Australian SMEs are innovating and investing in new technologies with many already seeing the real-time benefits of integrating AI into their operations to help improve productivity and profitability, as well as enhance their competitive edge.

“We know that AI itself is rapidly advancing, with its capabilities growing and expanding exponentially. There is also a need to provide more education and insights to help small-business owners and workers understand how AI applies to them and how it can get their business working smarter and faster.”

CBA’s data follows tech platform Effi Technologies’ launch of its new AI SMS bot that supports brokers with client engagement and aims to improve productivity.

[Related: New AI bot launches for brokers]

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