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How Tech Audits Empower AI Investments

by | Feb 13, 2024 | T.E.M. Thought Leadership

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses of all sizes and giving them a competitive edge if they can figure out how to fund the transformation. While AI adoption is imperative for competitiveness, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face constraints including limited budgets and talent shortages that curb implementation. Telecom and technology audits uniquely empower SMBs to smash through these barriers and participate in the AI future.

How AI Empowers SMB Operations

AI delivers transformative potential for SMBs across key business functions. Research shows AI adoption enables them to boost efficiency, decision-making, customer experiences, and more. Specifically, traditional and generative AI tools empower SMBs in five critical ways:

  1. Efficiency and cost reduction: Traditional AI tools enable SMBs to do more in less time and at lower costs by analyzing data and automating tasks such as expense reports and generating receipts. Generative (gen) AI can produce original and creative content, including images, text, and videos.
  2. Decision support: Traditional AI can analyze market dynamics, customer input, and historical data to validate new concepts, forecast potential success, and offer highly personalized experiences.
  3. Competitive advantage: Both traditional and generative AI empower SMBs competitive edge by accessing advanced analytics, personalized experiences, and innovative solutions previously only available to larger enterprises.
  4. Customer relationship management: AI can understand and interpret expense descriptions, generate valuable insights, and provide tailored suggestions for future trips, enhancing customer experiences and driving overall operational efficiency.
  5. Streamlined operations: AI tools streamline expense management processes by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recognize patterns and process images, automating auditing processes, and ensuring faster reimbursement. OCR technology converts different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files, or images captured by a digital camera, into editable and searchable data.

While AI delivers tremendous potential, successfully unleashing its benefits requires modernized infrastructure as the essential foundation.

The Overlooked AI Foundation: Optimized Infrastructure

Imperative scaled cloud = Elevated AI applications

AI success depends heavily on modernized, high-performing infrastructure. A recent survey found that 91% of organizations believe their IT infrastructure needs improvement to support their AI goals.

Key infrastructure components — like secure computing, cloud storage, and networking — must scale on demand, enable real-time processing, ensure reliable data flows, optimize costs, and provide end-to-end security.

Specifically, the cloud is imperative for AI tools to operate efficiently. Cloud computing provides the necessary tools and infrastructure for AI applications to operate, offering unparalleled power to tackle increasingly sophisticated challenges.

Benefits from cloud-powered AI include analyzing data quickly, always accessing consistent data to make good predictions, locking down sensitive information, and keeping costs in check to see returns. As the future of cloud computing is expected to be redefined by AI, the integration of AI and the cloud will continue to shape SMB operations in the years to come.

For today and tomorrow, attempting ambitious AI with outdated legacy systems will severely hamper outcomes, such as data and integration roadblocks that affect ROI.

Data flow and analytics

Legacy systems often store data in isolated silos that cannot be easily integrated with modern systems, which could restrict data flow and analytics and prevent timely decision-making and competitiveness. Additionally, legacy systems’ outdated security features make them vulnerable targets for cyber threats, leading to potential breaches and data loss that severely affect ROI and operations.

Performance and efficiency also deteriorate over time with aging legacy systems, reducing productivity and revenue. In addition, lost revenue from hidden overcharges in legacy contracts is a reality, with proprietary data research showing businesses spend up to 20% of their tech budgets on telecom contracts or tech they rarely use.


Legacy contracts often have outdated terms and billing structures that lead to overlooked overcharges over time. Complex legacy agreements can mask fees like:

  • Unused capacity charges
  • Improper service level rates
  • Hidden penalties for early termination or certain usage levels

Further complicating the matter is limited visibility into actual usage data and spending, which makes it difficult for organizations to validate fees against services received.

By optimizing telecom and technology agreements to identify wasteful spending, organizations can redirect significant portions of IT budgets into emerging capabilities like AI, automation, and engineering talent. Simply put, shining a light into legacy contract dark corners uncovers surprising savings that can fuel innovative transformation.

Funding Tomorrow’s AI with Today’s Savings

Divert funds from wasteful legacy spending

Capital freed from eliminating wasteful legacy spending can be reinvested to fund AI training, pilots, and rollouts. Further, the ongoing cost control from contract optimizations provides an increased budget to extend into full AI rollouts across an organization. As legacy agreements are continually streamlined, the savings compound to support expanding AI to additional functions and business units.

Leverage an optimized tech infrastructure

Optimized infrastructure from comprehensive technology audits paves the way for smoother AI integration in three ways:

  1. Upgraded cloud computing, storage, and networking resources provide the performance, scalability, and reliability that AI workloads demand.
  2. Consolidated systems with standardized data schemas simplify connections with AI through application programming interfaces (APIs) and machine learning pipelines.
  3. Technology audits establish strong data governance, security, and compliance foundations for responsible AI use and development. For example, only 22% of organizations have generative AI policies, according to the 2023 State of Marketing AI Report.

Control costs over time

As legacy contracts are continually optimized through recurring audits, wasteful overspending is systematically eliminated. The compounding savings then fund the expansion of initial AI pilots into larger deployments across the business, steering more budgets from outdated technologies into advanced analytics and automation.

Rather than a one-time initiative, integrating repeat audit services sustains cost governance as systems and agreements evolve, uncovering new savings opportunities. These savings allow organizations to bankroll innovation transformation without seeking additional budget increases. Currently, SpyGlass recommends a repeat audit two years after the completion of the prior audit.

Overall, keeping a regular audit on the schedule as an internal consulting partner governs spending and liberates capital for continuous reinvestment into AI capabilities is the key to driving growth and competitiveness.

Audit Today to Unlock AI’s Potential

The takeaway for SMBs is clear: comprehensive tech audits lay the groundwork for AI by optimizing infrastructure and freeing up capital. Investing audit savings into AI tools unlocks lasting competitive potential. Through comprehensive audits, SpyGlass uncovers redundancies and savings in 99% of engagements. SpyGlass SnapShot Audits build inventory, identify billing errors, and optimize contracts for 20%+ annual savings.

Now is the time for SMBs to audit for AI readiness. SpyGlass makes it simple and risk-free to start. Contact SpyGlass for a no-obligation Snapshot Audit to kick-start your organization’s AI future today.

Ready to optimize your infrastructure for future AI investments?
Download the 2023 State of Technology Service Expenses report.
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