Large businesses with enormous IT budgets can afford to adopt any new technology that comes along. As a mid-sized company, you have to be smarter. This week we take a look at the top articles on how Artificial Intelligence works within ERP software and what opportunities there are for the future. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a general term for computing that simulates or approaches human “thinking” capabilities, or any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. We know that most SMBs don’t have the budget or in-house talent to build their own AI solutions from scratch – so let’s see how Acumatica’s Cloud ERP Software can help.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning for the Modern CFO
AI uses the power of today’s computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Machine learning (ML) uses algorithms that allow financial software applications to learn by being trained to identify key patterns. Both have matured to the point where now they have become key financial management technologies used by the modern CFO. While most ERP systems feature dashboards that can provide important real-time information, dashboards can’t tell you when to re-order inventory or hire your next employee. This is where AI and ML become essential tools. ML can take data gathering one step further and help CFOs reduce repetitive tasks and make more strategic business decisions. AI can help automate complex processes, identify future trends based on historical data and provide an unbiased view of performance. Using AI and ML, your ERP system can become more predictive, telling you during which weeks of the year you sell the most inventory and what types of inventory have the highest profit margins.
Ways AI and Machine Learning Can Improve Cloud ERP Solutions
Designed to deliver results by providing AI and machine learning insights, Cloud ERP platforms, and apps can rejuvenate ERP systems and their contributions to business growth. The following are a few ways AI and ML can improve Cloud ERP software (now and in the future):
- Virtual agents have the potential to redefine many areas of manufacturing operations, from pick-by voice systems to advanced diagnostics.
- An example of a task virtual agents are currently being used for today is guiding production workers to select from the correct product bin as required by the Bill of Materials. Machinery manufacturers are piloting voice agents that can provide detailed work instructions that streamline configure-to-order and engineer-to-order production.
- Design in the Internet of Things (IoT) support at the data structure level to realize quick wins as data collection pilots go live and scale.
- Cloud ERP platforms have the potential to capitalize on the massive data stream IoT devices are generating today by designing in support at the data structure level first. Providing IoT-based data to AI and ML apps continually will bridge the intelligence gap many companies face today as they pursue new business models.
- Improving demand forecasting accuracy and enabling better collaboration with suppliers based on insights from machine learning-based predictive models.
- By creating a self-learning knowledge system, Cloud ERP providers can vastly improve data latency rates that lead to higher forecast accuracy. Factoring in sales, marketing, and promotional programs further fine-tunes forecast accuracy.
AI Technology on the Horizon for Manufacturers
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly finding their way into the manufacturing world. Existing applications are becoming “smarter” and better able to identify and react to exceptions. They are becoming increasingly able to handle the Big Data that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is generating and enhance our ability to manage increasingly complex and fragile supply chains. The most visible examples in the market today are the way online shopping/advertising sites record your online activities (searches, pages visited and for how long, abandoned shopping carts, etc.) and use this data to profile your interests. Have you ever wondered why you see pop-up ads and get emails from ERP companies after you read an online article about supply chain management? The point is that these functions build on the data stream and continually refine themselves, getting better as they “learn” more about you. AI and machine learning are finding their way into new industries, like manufacturing, and promise to have a major impact in the coming years.
Technological innovations tend to arrive and spread much faster than anyone cares to predict. New technologies like AI and ML can’t be ignored. You can lead, follow, or get out of the way and let your competitors take away your business advantage.