Unleashing the Power of AI in SaaS: SureSwift Capital’s Customer-Focused Approach

SureSwift Capital is leveraging AI to revolutionize productivity, personalize experiences & drive growth

Technology and machines are a defining part of human existence. From what proved to be many incredibly useful inventions like wheels, screws, and cars to assembly line robots, personal computers, and smartphones, technological innovation has helped us advance in ways we couldn't have imagined possible — despite challenges, pushback, and other obstacles faced along the way.

Today, that innovation has evolved as artificial intelligence (AI), and it's taking many industries by storm, changing SaaS products, careers, and teams, with applications like fraud detection, self-driving cars, and more — not to mention the swift popularity of tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT and others that quickly followed suit a couple of years back.

But wait — what exactly is AI? And how did we get this far ahead?

Let's take a quick step back for a moment and establish just what exactly AI is. When we talk about generative AI technology, we mean the ability of a machine to carry out functions associated with the human brain (like perception, reason, learning, interaction, solving problems, and being creative).

It's helpful to remember that AI isn't all that new and has actually been around in B2B SaaS and other tech sectors for years, helping companies in many areas — from responding to FAQs with chatbots, sending automated emails, and finding leads, to segmenting customers, personalizing content, screening resumes, and more.

AI helps the SaaS world work faster and save time

These use cases absolutely continue to benefit from AI today. But in the world of SaaS, AI also brings huge perks with its ability, among other things, to:

  • process and analyze huge amounts of data in seconds
  • automate manual tasks
  • gather insights to facilitate data-driven decisions
  • offer a personalized, relevant experience to users

Essentially, AI is helping nearly every SaaS company on the planet work faster and save precious time — SureSwift Capital and its product offerings included.

Of course, we don't wear rose-colored glasses and do recognize that AI has its drawbacks and pain points like anything else. Nonetheless, aligned with our Exceptional Operator Framework, we're embracing it at SureSwift as we recognize it's quickly changing how the world does business, solves problems, and functions.

Plus, with SaaS offerings incorporating AI and machine learning expected to comprise $31.3 billion of the world's SaaS market by 2025, we know we need to keep up. And our talented SaaS leaders and teams are doing just that. They're learning how to make AI work for us in ways that most benefit our portfolio businesses and their teams and end users. 

Keep reading for a deep dive into why the time is now for AI in SaaS, AI's biggest takeaways, and how SureSwift and our portfolio teams are using AI to succeed.

Why should SaaS businesses invest in and develop AI now?

With the power to automate tasks, optimize service offerings, customize and enhance customer experiences and interactions, streamline operations, and provide analytics to help with decision-making, AI has been found to boost productivity by as much as 40%. And with its dominance throughout the world in countless applications and industries, investing in and developing AI is a sound strategy for business resilience and success.

For SaaS in particular, AI makes it easier to use the common product-led growth (PLG) model by offering data-driven analytics, customized onboarding, a personalized UX, and continuous usage feedback and customer support. It allows SaaS businesses to quickly adapt to marketplace changes that enable them to improve their offerings; boost productivity by automating and streamlining tasks; and collect data to generate ideas and predictions, which makes the decision-making process simpler. Finally, SaaS companies can stand out from the competition over time thanks to the time and cost savings that AI delivers day-to-day.

Simplification: The promise of AI

AI certainly makes tasks simpler and faster, but the bottom line is it allows for simplification — the ability to do more things with less.

This simplification means that AI can do things that you previously didn't have the budget for. Maybe you could never afford a custom graphic for a background on a landing page, for example, but you still have the need. AI can help you with that, therefore letting you put your budget into more impactful initiatives. 

At SureSwift, this could mean building a more natural language-focused interface, allowing users to prompt our applications to achieve some end result. This changes the dynamic of the user experience. Businesses that successfully navigate this could successfully distance themselves and stand out from their competitors. 

For a user, AI can ideally make onboarding and integration into existing workflows easier. AI can also handle low-level support — maybe even higher level than we currently give it credit for. This means that users of our products can expect quicker answers at a very high quality. Not only that, but users with special cases and needs can get direct attention from our team members who have now become more available.

How SureSwift uses AI today

Here at SureSwift, we're using AI in both our product offerings and productivity tools for teams. When asked about why AI is suited to the company and its portfolio of product offerings, John Austin, SureSwift's COO, puts it this way: "Beyond just having to stay competitive, AI helps small teams — it gives them the ability to punch above their weight class. For example, it gives a solo marketer a suite of tools to build their own little AI agency."

AI for external product offerings and internal productivity

For product functionality, some of our businesses are a natural fit for using AI to increase the value of their products to customers. For others, it’s less clear. In these cases, customer feedback, competitive landscape, and innovation drive investment. 

So far, two products have launched AI-driven features to their customers, and others have these planned on their development roadmaps. And there are definitely more opportunities to expand in both of these areas.

Docparser

Docparser is a solution for document data capture, which takes information from a variety of document types (like invoices, purchase orders, bills of lading, bank statements, work orders, and more). The team recently launched an AI template — aptly named Docparser AI — which uses AI to suggest parsing rules on different types of documents.

Essentially, the template uses OCR technology, advanced pattern recognition, and AI's power to extract important data from PDFs, Word documents, and images. Users build data extraction rules on a point-and-click editor to generate parsers from scratch or use premade templates depending on their purpose. For example, the generic invoice template automatically recognizes line items, invoice numbers, and phone numbers. 

The benefit? Using Docparser AI means parsing rules don't need to be set manually. Users save time and effort by simply uploading a sample document, and then instantly receiving AI-made rules that are customizable to each user's ideal setup process.

MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a user-friendly tool that quickly automates and customizes social media content creation and scheduling. Launched this year, its new assistant, Inky, uses AI to generate and suggest social media content and hashtags to its customers.

Users can generate customized AI captions for faster, easier content scheduling and customized copy that best suits the style and tone of various social media platforms. Inky offers a choice of moods or tones to choose from (e.g. contemplative or optimistic) that support organic copy. The tool can also create hashtags for those who need a hand or are short on time.

Inky's journey

The team's process started by analyzing the root causes of the company's churn rates to figure out how customer satisfaction could be improved. They looked at product value, customer service, and resources in undertaking thorough market research and competitive analysis before concluding that growing the product and acquiring more customers meant including AI-generated content features.

To make sure that this was indeed the right solution for its user base of entrepreneurs — who, notably, promote an authentic, organic online presence to their audiences — the team polled and surveyed customers about the idea of creating content with AI. Many were in favor, and in September 2023, the development team got to work, integrating OpenAI's generative AI technology, and debuting Inky four months later.

AI for productivity

AI for productivity is a SureSwift operational execution priority — businesses that do not evolve their processes to leverage AI risk being bloated and left behind. Considerations in this area always involve a business case on ROI.

When it comes to productivity tools to optimize tasks and workflows, some of our businesses are exploring AI on the customer support desk, like AI-powered chatbots for customer support. As well, some businesses are using AI to help write responses, and one is using a product called Hook.ai to explore churn trends.

"Beyond just having to stay competitive, AI helps small teams — it gives them the ability to punch above their weight class. For example, it gives a solo marketer a suite of tools to build their own little AI agency." - John Austin, SureSwift COO

Results we're seeing

In terms of quantitative results, it's still early days which makes it difficult to measure the gains that AI brings to our businesses at this point. But, for product features, we're measuring customer adoption.

Productivity tools like GitHub's Copilot help development teams boost productivity and write simpler code, which lets them focus on the hard stuff. Over time, we expect more data to show increased productivity and cost savings in AI-based tooling.

AI's biggest challenge? Its inability to amuse, delight, inspire, and intrigue

We recognize we're still in the very early days of the AI revolution. While it may gobble up a lot of the low-hanging, low-value, high-churn jobs, we certainly don't think successful companies will let AI take the place of its critical thinkers. And that's not how we roll here at SureSwift.

While there will likely be a mad rush to adopt tools across the entire industry, it's also very likely that we'll be so inundated with the "same" everywhere. Design by committee is the death of all creativity, and AI is the ultimate design by committee.

"Design by committee is the death of all creativity, and AI is the ultimate design by committee." - James DeGreef, SSC CEO

AI's inability to amuse, delight, inspire, and intrigue is going to be its biggest obstacle. We know even humans aren't great at this — that's why it's such a sought after skill! If AI is a reflection back on all of us, how will it handle the curation of its inputs to understand and celebrate subjective quality? 

Those who dare to draw outside the lines will be the ones who stand out and demand the attention of everyone else. Authenticity always wins. So, with that in mind, we'll continue to combine the human element of creative authenticity with the convenient, time-saving automation that AI helps our teams with each and every day.

"Those who dare to draw outside the lines will be the ones who stand out and demand the attention of everyone else. Authenticity always wins." - Don Wharton, SSC Chairman

In a nutshell

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technological innovation, it's clear that AI is helping to shape its future. AI's ability to mimic human cognitive functions has revolutionized the way we operate on a daily basis.

While AI isn't a novel concept, its integration into B2B SaaS and other tech models has unleashed a new wave of possibilities, moving businesses toward unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity. By harnessing AI's power to automate tasks, personalize experiences, and impact data-driven decisions, SaaS companies like SureSwift and its portfolio offerings are not only staying competitive but also setting up for future success.

The promise of AI lies in its ability to simplify complex processes, enabling us to do more with less. By leveraging AI-driven features in external products and internal productivity tools, SureSwift and our portfolio companies are empowering teams to achieve outsized results and providing users with seamless experiences.

Yet, amid the excitement surrounding AI's potential, it's crucial to acknowledge its limitations. As AI continues to evolve, maintaining authenticity and creativity remains paramount. While AI excels at streamlining workflows and optimizing efficiency, it's the human touch that ultimately distinguishes exceptional companies from the rest.

Looking ahead, SureSwift Capital remains committed to being that exception by striking the delicate balance between innovation and authenticity. By combining the convenience of AI-driven automation with the timeless appeal of human creativity, we aim to continue driving growth, delivering value, and shaping the future of SaaS with integrity and ingenuity.

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