Despite it being relatively early days for Artificial Intelligence, it is already making serious waves in the software market with Gartner recently stating that AI technologies will be in almost every new software product by 2020. This is quite a strong statement and one that indicates just how seriously we, as a provider of independent ERP consulting services, need to take this new technology. ERP software is renowned for boosting operational efficiency, and so it would seem to be a perfect match for the sort of future-forward technology that AI represents.
If you think about it, there is already a little bit of AI being used in most ERP systems already. Cloud solutions, for example, enable us to collect millions of data points which can form the basis of machine learning. We can input sensors into all our manufactured products so that we can track them at every stage of their lifecycle, from the factory floor to customers’ homes. These are just two examples of how AI is helping to change ERP, so let us take a closer look at some more examples of how AI can develop with ERP systems in the future:
AI enabled ERP solutions will be able to learn from customer service history and will use chatbots to allow businesses to answer customer queries more quickly, more consistently and more cost-effectively. Added to the integration of real-time data from every customer-facing department this will mean companies get a 360-degree view of the customer, which will mean customer service should improve by leaps and bounds.
AI bots can be used to automate those repetitive accounting functions that take a significant amount of time up – such as categorising invoice information. AI can also be used to automate monthly, quarterly and year-end processes even verifying reports for accuracy. If you add in the machine learning capabilities of AI, then your ERP system can learn to make better judgements based on your inputs.
We already see talent acquisition software on the market which can read applicants’ CVs and quickly evaluate them, eliminating up to 75% of them from the recruiting process. AI systems can also be used to plan, organise and coordinate a training program for existing staff members.
At the moment, sales automation systems are about tracking and reporting team productivity. With the introduction of AI, individual interaction will become smarter as data will be used to determine which content and sales ploys will be more likely to drive results. AI can also be used really early on in the sales process to help your sales reps to pull together comprehensive profiles of their target customers by drawing together all of the data available about them.
Machine Learning coupled with AI means that we can now test hundreds of different demand forecasting models with a never-before-seen level of precision. This type of system will also take into account different variables such as product introductions, sudden changes in demand and supply chain disruptions.
However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t some risks involved with the introduction of AI to ERP systems, including the failure of integration due to inadequate resources and also the sharing sensitive data with the onset of GDPR.
The future looks great for AI and ERP since AI is already showing that it can introduce many efficiency boosters throughout the organisation. If you are interested in finding out more about how ERP software could help your business, then please get in touch with us today.