Is there still an untouched corner in the vast universe of AI business opportunities? The rapidly trending term "AI Automation Agency" (AAA) suggests so.
AI Automation Agencies have been trending recently on YouTube. They are sold as a new business model, an excellent way for beginners who do not come from a software development or programming background to break into the AI industry in a cost-effective manner.
There is a lot of hype being generated in YouTube videos and the comments section of the videos about AAAs. But is the hype warranted? Is this really a brand-new business model? Is an AAA a blue ocean business operating in a novel marketplace, untainted by competition? Read on as we dissect this trend and examine if it holds the promise of a fresh, competition-free marketplace.
What is an AI Automation Agency
An AI Automation Agency is a business that helps small and medium-sized companies incorporate AI into their processes and workflows to increase productivity, profit and performance. You help employees and business owners get more done with fewer errors. You also help them make better-informed business decisions.
An AAA will automate repetitive tasks, optimize processes to make them more efficient by increasing speed and accuracy, and provide insights using company data that was previously impossible to utilize. By removing the need for employees to do the tedious, mundane tasks that we all hate, people are freed up to do more interesting and valuable work.
What do AAAs offer and actually do?
The scope of AAA services is broad, given the diverse business areas that AI can impact. The critical point is that AAAs will ultimately reduce manual tasks & touchpoints, eradicate process bottlenecks, increase task accuracy and generally remove any pain points in a company's operations.
Let's look at the three main areas of focus for AAAs:
1) Automate Tasks and Processes
Tasks requiring humans to manually input, extract, transfer, or reconcile data can all be automated. Entering expense claims into an expense system, retrieving file attachments from emails and copying data from one system to another can be done by AI quicker and more accurately than a person could.
2) Interactive Assistance
Chatbots and automated self-help tools that people interact with using natural language fall into this category. Many customer support agents answer repetitive, formulaic and easy-to-answer questions from customers that chatbots or self-support AI tools could answer instead.
3) Intelligent Insights & Advice
Data can be collected and fed into a machine learning algorithm to produce business insights that were impossible to create without AI. Examples include product recommendations or detecting anomalies such as data entry errors. Algorithms can sift through data at a scale impossible for humans to match.
These are the broad areas in which an AAA can provide services. Ultimately, the services and solutions a specific AAA will offer will only be limited by the owner's ability to identify business pain points and their ability to resolve these pain points.
Are AI Automation Agencies new?
The term "AI Automation Agency" (AAA) was only popularized on YouTube in mid-2023, so usage of the term itself is new. The business model behind it though, helping other businesses incorporate AI, is not totally new.
Large companies have been partnering with those producing AI models, such as OpenAI & IBM, or consulting in AI, such as McKinsey or the big four accounting firms, for several years. However, the idea of individuals setting up their own companies, or agencies, to target smaller businesses is a much newer trend.
The release of ChatGPT in November 2022 brought the attention of a broader audience to the existence of AI tools. Since then, we have seen a noticeable increase in businesses using AI tools and software. This increase in the use of AI tools is the genesis of what have now become AAAs.
Is an AAA similar to other "agency" models like social media marketing agencies (SMMAs)
No. The connection between AAAs and other agency business models, like marketing agencies and SMMAs, comes from the world of online business/entrepreneurship.
Many YouTubers who posted videos about business/entrepreneurship and related areas - dropshipping, e-commerce, NFTs - began pivoting to posting videos about AAAs when it started trending. Their only experience was with the word "agency". They were relatively new to "AI" and business process "automation".
Most talk about AI automation for online marketing, lead generation, and social media advertising, as this is where their expertise is. As such, they are running SMMAs that use AI tools rather than an AAA focusing on automating company processes and workflows that extend far beyond the online marketing arena.
Is there a market for AAAs and their services?
Yes. While AAA may be a buzzword for many YouTubers who have limited AI or enterprise knowledge, the business case for legitimate agencies is extremely strong.
As mentioned, large firms are partnering with AI companies and experts to roll out AI solutions in their firms. As a result, many medium and small business owners now understand the potential of AI, but they need more expertise to implement it. This need is where AAAs will step in and offer their services.
Unlike previous technology trends, such as NFTs and the Metaverse, there is widespread acceptance that AI is a game changer. This acceptance can be quantified by the amount of cash being pumped by institutional investors into AI companies, the demand for employees with AI skills and the volume of media articles on the topic. Not since the advent of the iPhone in 2007 has a technology innovation garnered such attention.
Should I start an AAA?
Should you take the plunge and start your own AAA? There's no simple answer, but our post, "Should I Start an AAA?" delves into the complexities and potential of this new business model. Be sure to read that to find out if starting an AAA is for you!