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The buzz around Artificial Intelligence (AI) is unavoidable in UK businesses. But beyond the hype, lies the fundamental question: Can AI really revolutionise your SME?

This article looks at the practicalities of integrating AI into SMEs and how it can be more than just a tech trend, offering tangible benefits to your business.

It draws insights from the innovative use of AI by Monaco Solicitors, a UK employment law firm. Monaco has developed Grapple, an AI-based document creator for employees in disputes to develop their own personalised legal documents.

The role of AI in refining SME operations

The capabilities of AI are extensive, but for SMEs may include:

  • Streamlining operations by automating repetitive tasks.
  • Delivering personalised customer experiences.
  • Creating ‘bespoke’ documents.
  • Making data-driven decisions using existing business data.

What kind of AI solution should you choose?

Businesses face a critical choice in AI adoption: selecting off-the-shelf, or custom-built, or hybrid solutions.

  • Off-the-shelf products provide immediate, cost-effective automation but may lack the specificity some SMEs require. Examples of some free AI products include:
  • Custom-built solutions offer tailored functionality and a competitive edge, but demand more significant investment.
  • Hybrid options merge these approaches, for example by customising open-source (free) AI products to suit specific needs.  (See for some open source examples.) This is the approach Monaco Solicitors adopted.

SMEs must weigh these options, considering immediate benefits against the long-term value of a customised or hybrid solution.

Steps to introduce AI in your SME

Whatever kind of AI strategy you opt for, the steps for introducing it into your organisation are similar:

  • Recognise the opportunity:

Pinpoint where AI can add value. For example in HR, AI can be particularly helpful in policy document creation/ management, and in refining procedures like employees’ grievances.

  • Set achievable goals:

Clearly define your AI ambitions. Whether it’s increasing document workflow efficiency or refining legal documents like contracts and settlement agreements, your goals should be specific and measurable.

  • Explore AI solutions:

Seek out what AI tools exist that meet your particular needs, or can be easily tailored to meet them.

  • Begin with a manageable scope:

Implement AI in a small segment of your business, like automating scheduling or deploying a customer inquiry chatbot.

  • Select an experienced AI partner:

If you’re opting for an off-the-shelf product, choose a provider with a solid understanding of SMEs and a proven track record. If you need technical support, look for a provider who offers it as part of a package that suits you.

  • Trial, monitor and learn:

Introduce the AI tool in a controlled setting, closely monitoring its impact and gathering feedback.

  • Review and refine:

Post-trial, evaluate how the AI tool aligned with your objectives. Did it enhance new enquiry handling or streamline document creation? Use these insights to decide on wider implementation or exploring other options.


In summary, AI isn’t just a fleeting trend; it’s a strategic tool that, when implemented thoughtfully, can yield significant efficiency and profitability gains. What’s more, it is within the reach of most SMEs.