Commonwealth Bank Launches AI Data Insights for Small Businesses

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), in collaboration with YouGov, has unveiled compelling insights into AI adoption among SMEs, revealing that 59 percent of these businesses have either invested in or plan to invest in AI over the next five years (25 percent currently investing, 34 percent intending to do so). Younger business leaders, particularly Gen Z and millennials, show the highest propensity for AI investment at 75 percent, compared to 55 percent for Gen X and 45 percent for baby boomers or older.

Early adopters are already reaping benefits, with 87 percent reporting cost and time savings since integrating AI into their operations. Despite these gains, 80 percent of SMEs identify various barriers hindering AI adoption. Key challenges include concerns over data security such as breaches (33 percent), limited understanding of AI (28 percent), and financial constraints (26 percent).

Rebecca Warren, CBA’s Executive General Manager of Small Business Banking, emphasized AI’s transformative potential amidst current market challenges, highlighting its role in enhancing productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage across diverse sectors and business sizes.

The study challenges misconceptions that AI benefits are limited to specific industries, showing that professionals in services are more likely to face knowledge gaps compared to counterparts in construction and trade (35 percent versus 17 percent).

Primary drivers for AI adoption include efficiency/productivity improvements (66 percent), reduction of manual tasks (46 percent), and profitability enhancement (38 percent). SMEs are actively exploring AI applications in content creation/editing (48 percent), idea generation (39 percent), and routine task automation (33 percent).

Looking ahead, 57 percent of SMEs express interest in AI training programs and tools, underscoring a demand for accessible resources to accelerate AI capabilities. CBA aims to meet this need with a forthcoming initiative designed to empower SMEs, enabling them to leverage AI for sustained business growth and innovation.

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