Ode to AI: Is it really the future of all business management solutions?

AI ERP

Luckily, Artificial Intelligence or AI, doesn’t need a formal introduction. That’s because it’s become such an integral part of our daily lives, that we often don’t even know it’s there. AI helps us learn, plan, create, and even reason, all powered by an AI-infused engine that displays human-like capabilities, or rather, mimics aspects of human intelligence.

Enter business management solutions, such as ERP or CRM. Now, here’s where AI really shines. For example, AI enables ERP systems to actually perceive their environment, efficiently handle what they perceive, solve problems, and take the action needed to achieve a specific goal. And despite the complexity of ERP software, AI is becoming exceedingly easier and faster to integrate.

Popular AI-enabled ERP tools are in abundance. They’re an eclectic mix of functionalities that power interactive chatbots, drive intelligent process automation, fuel a host of financial operations, and much more. Today’s new-fangled AI models neatly embedded into an ERP system enable organizations to reduce costs and improve operations.

But how will AI transform the future of ERP? How will it impact the business landscape as we know it? And to remain competitive, will ERP vendors have to power their platforms with integrated AI tools?

Let’s take a look at the top four benefits of AI-enabled ERP and in turn, what it will mean for the future of your organization. 

Benefits of AI in an ERP system

  1. All that data. AI-enabled ERP systems are capable of aggregating and processing vast amounts of data. This means that organizations can generate exceedingly accurate data analyses that aren’t dependent on the volume of data. ERP systems can generate detailed reports based on historical data analysis, but when powered by AI tools, data analytics, forecasting, and reporting, go the extra mile. AI enables greater visibility into business data to make smarter, better informed, and more accurate business decisions. Simply put, organizations increase efficiency and productivity and greatly benefit from the insights generated by integrated AI-driven data analytics.
  2. Forward-thinking forecasting. AI integrated into an ERP system enhances forecasting and predictions, enabling business owners and managers to identify problems before they happen.   AI’s robust algorithms effectively scan and analyze the vast amounts of information in an ERP’s database to detect trends, flag changes or fluctuations, and in turn, make predictions on future business activities based on accurate, real-time data insights. This means that organizations can enhance their forecasting procedures, from replenishing inventory to hiring additional manpower, and smarter planning of future budgets and cashflow. In turn, companies can save valuable time, resources, and costs across the board.
  3. Say goodbye to manual processes. AI-powered ERP systems automate routine and often mundane manual tasks, namely data entry. Automated processes based on AI reduce employees’ reliance on manual data entry, decrease the possibility of human errors, save on manhours and associated costs, and result in more accurate and timely reporting. Automated workflows greatly reduce duplicate data entries, and simplify time-consuming routine tasks, to enable employees to spend their time on more important, strategic activities to increase profitability. By automating routine tasks such as accounting or stocktaking, AI-powered processes help optimize business efficiency and build smarter, more streamlined organizational workflows.
  4. The human touch. Every business, no matter its size or scope, strives to improve the customer experience. In e-commerce, for example, AI enhances the customer experience by creating intelligence-based results derived from historic customer data. AI algorithms analyze this data and learn customers’ behavioral patterns to drive future sales. When integrated into an ERP system, AI helps create a personalized user experience, making more intelligent decisions based on human input. AI-enabled ERP streamlines the online purchasing process, making it faster and easier for consumers to search and find what they’re looking for based on their actual buying history. By accelerating and optimizing the buying process, and steering the consumer in the ‘right’ direction, AI helps ERP systems make the best possible use of its vast amounts of data, to become more powerful business management tools, and in turn, enhance the customer experience.

The Last Hurrah

ERP systems have withstood the test of time, and for decades, have served a multitude of organizations, big and small, to manage, control, automate and optimize operational business processes. While ERP continues to drive the digital revolution forward, it can only do so effectively by onboarding and implementing intelligence, and intelligent tools like AI. To remain competitive, today’s ERP vendors will have little or no choice but to adopt AI functionality. While artificial intelligence can never fully replace accumulative human experience and expertise, AI has shown us time and again, that it can render our business processes, to coin a phrase – “better, faster, and stronger.”

One thing we know for certain, is that there is real value in AI and ERP integration, and as quickly as AI has become the driving force behind so many of our daily activities, companies must rethink their strategies, and turn their attention to AI-powered ERP. AI tools embedded into an ERP system help make businesses run smarter and more efficiently, by providing actionable and intelligent data to make better-informed business decisions, and foresee problems before they occur. But fear not, AI won’t be a substitute for ERP.

ERP will continue to reign supreme for many years to come, but without the unrivaled value of additional intelligence, ERP will remain just another business management system.  

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The Author
Todd McElroy
Head of Sales, Priority U.S.

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