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Why 91% of French SMEs have yet to invest anything in artificial intelligence ?

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The latest quarterly barometer Bpifrance Le Lab/Rexecode draws an alarming observation of the underinvestment of medium and small French companies in generative AI technologies. Only 9% of them have, to date, taken the plunge.

AI potentially offers many opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity and innovation, but small businesses face barriers such as lack of knowledge, investment costs and concerns about the impact on employment.

AI remains too complex a subject for 91% of VSEs/SMEs

Companies are also wondering how fill their lack of internal skills – while some recruiters chase the required talent from the competition. Which according to another Adecco survey threatens to increase salary inequalities – without providing sufficient internal opportunities for training.

Beyond this, SME/VSE managers are struggling to assess their investment needs in artificial intelligence. Our colleagues from La Tribune also explain that SMEs/VSEs overall plan to reduce their investments this year.

In this context 18% of managers However, they plan to increase their investments in AI (compared to 66% of undecided companies, according to the study). To help these businesses, several initiatives are being developed.

Microsoft, very active on the issue thanks to its close partnership with OpenAI, has for example launched a tour of France called À vous l’AI, to help companies tackle the subject. The firm also offers on its platform Learn dedicated to learning, courses and documentation dedicated to professionals.

Let us also mention Orange Business which has been offering generative AI offers for several weeks – for a sum of “a few tens of euros per month” all with personalized support. The telecom operator is also focusing on training to make managers aware of the benefits of AI.

But also train new AI talents internally. Orange aims to train 5,000 learners by 2025.  The quarterly Bpifrance Le Lab/Rexecode barometer cited in this article was carried out on the basis of 3,265 questionnaires – in particular the first 946 responses deemed reliable.

According to La Tribune, over the last three years, business investment has mainly increased focused on digitalization and robotization (52% of respondents). 24% directed their investments in R&D and innovation – while 33% of VSEs/SMEs chose the environment.

  • Only 9% of SMEs/French VSEs have invested in generative AI, despite its potential to improve efficiency and productivity.
  • The main barriers are lack of knowledge, costs and concerns about the impact on employment, while businesses struggle to assess their AI needs and find the necessary skills.
  • To remedy this situation, several AI players, including Microsoft and Orange, offer training and generative AI solutions to help SMEs/VSEs to get started.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116