Potential of Generative AI for SMEs

How large AI models are changing the world of work

© Fraunhofer IAO / Bild generiert mit Midjourney


Companies are currently confronted with many new applications in the field of generative AI - ChatGPT is one of the best-known examples. There are new developments almost everyday and it is an immense challenge especially for medium-sized companies to keep up.

This makes it all the more important to be able to systematically classify the potential of these tools in order to evaluate areas of application for one's own company and develop an individual strategy.


The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is conducting a research project on Generative AI on behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism with a focus on applications in the field of language and text processing.

Based on interviews and workshops with experts from business and research, literature research and personal project experience, the study aims to address the following questions, among others:

  • What importance does Generative AI have and what potential does it offer, such as language models?
  • What are important and beneficial fields of application for companies?
  • How do experts from business and science assess the potential and challenges?
  • Where is there a need for action?
  • What impact can be expected on the world of work?
  • What are the dangers and risks of using Generative AI and language models?


The key findings of this study were compiled on the basis of interviews with 48 experts from science, technology and application, supplemented by literature research and our own expertise. The central result is a set of recommendations for action that are relevant not only to SMEs, since almost no company will be able to ignore this trend in the future. The recommendations are complemented by advice for science and society.

The study provides companies with recommendations for using Generative AI and addresses the following topics, among others:

  • AI strategy
  • Training requirements
  • Prioritization of use cases
  • partnerships
  • AI regulation
  • Resource consumption
  • Handling productivity gains

The study (in German) can be downloaded free of charge using the download form below.

The Management summary is now also available in English (via download form).

Download the Study (in German) and Management Summary (in English)

* Required

* Required