AI is part of the current data revolution and will soon move past the “novelty” phase of Siri and Alexa into all aspects of life and business alike. AI technology will revolutionize business processes and operating models.
Although there has been much talk of the rise of artificial intelligence or AI for quite some time now, most people still perceive it as something that, while interesting and exciting, will not directly impact them and their role in the enterprise. They see it as something happening elsewhere, in high-tech, futuristic environments and physical or robotic applications.
The realities are far closer to home and AI, along with machine learning is growing in leaps and bounds and slowly but surely infiltrating every aspect of the business environment.
So while AI might not be replacing your sales force or your management team in the next few years, it certainly will impact the environment and those that harness the power it has to offer will be at a distinct advantage over those that delay incorporating the technology.
AI has the power to radically enhance teams and departments, particularly with planning and control. It does this by providing insightful, predictive analytics. This intelligence will permeate into all departments and influence all aspects of the business. Apart from the valuable insights, it will also free up the humans to do what they do best with the added advantage that their efforts will be more accurately focused and productive.
As the technology evolves, it will make some systems redundant and will indeed eliminate the need for a number of functions currently performed by humans. That is not necessarily a threat as they can then be freed up from the mundane, routine tasks that could be carried out more efficiently by machines and redeployed into more productive roles that do require human intervention.
While data collection in the past was an erratic and often a manual, time-consuming process, it can now be automated and totally non-intrusive. Vast amounts of data will come into the ERP system from all corners of the business, seamlessly and without the need for human intervention.
The explosion of cloud computing, and the resultant competition amongst vendors has radically reduced the cost of data storage and computing capacity required to manage this vast amount of information. This has made the cost of mining massive datasets and the complex processing that is required more affordable and practical for business.
The value of AI
While the management, integrity and accessibility of data is critical, it is the valuable insights the data can provide when intelligently interpreted that offers the real prize. Intelligent ERP systems, incorporating machine learning and AI, will be capable of understanding customer behavior, interactions and relationships far better than even the most seasoned marketer.
Incorporating AI into ERP systems will reduce operating costs by simplifying or even eliminating the need for routine tasks and will prevent human error. It will optimize operational processes. This frees up resources for more productive pursuits.
It will be an invaluable tool in sales planning, control, measurement and opportunity management.
What can be done?
There are many ways to implement AI, machine learning, and predictive analysis into your ERP and CRM systems.
If your vendor offers this functionality already, it is time to take a closer look at it and incorporate it into your existing systems, using for example, a cloud-based ERP solution. The other option is to expand your system and utilize external, third-party applications that can do the necessary analysis of the data on the existing system.
A third option is to develop a business intelligence system in-house, from the ground up. This will be costly and time-consuming but could provide long-term advantages.
The most important point is that you have to do something. Those that delay utilizing amazing power provided by intelligent ERP will be at a distinct disadvantage when up against competitors that have embraced the technology.
The benefits for the organizations running an AI-enabled ERP solution are enormous and growing literally by the day. It is time to take a long hard look at your company’s digital strategy and resource planning in order to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your use of data and resources.