17 Apr Artificial Intelligence in ERP – how does it work in Acumatica?
The modern digital revolution is introducing immense challenges to the way we conduct businesses today. One of the most significant of those is the growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many business leaders are unfamiliar with the extent to which Artificial Intelligence can enable new processes within a modern ERP strategy. Most are still intrigued by what it can offer and we can try to explain here exactly what is Artificial Intelligence? What does Artificial Intelligence do? And how can Artificial Intelligence help a modern business and what are the most predictable benefits?
Artificial Intelligence is best understood as a combination of technologies, such as Machine Learning (ML) and Natural-Language Processing (NLP), that outperform human cognitive abilities, certainly in terms of speed and complexity. These technologies change behaviour without being explicitly programmed, based on data collection, usage analysis and other observations. Leading AI applications include: bots, chatbots, and virtual assistants, conversational AI platforms, analytics, and predictive analytic models, smart objects, sensors, and environments. All of these disciplines are well suited and can be used in post-modern ERP environments.
Indeed, in the post-modern ERP era, there is a growing interest in AI technology that is being harnessed to improve efficiency and effectiveness through chatbots and virtual assistants. They reshape how we work allowing people to carry out more value-adding activity through the introduction of automation such as;- bots, sensors and analytics. It’s true that these solutions are revolutionary but far better than dedicating resource to tasks where typically the greatest proportion of interaction is repetitive in nature.
It is important to note that at present, almost all modern ERP vendors include some form of AI in their offerings. They incorporate a continuously evolving, broad range of Artificial Intelligence technologies for ERP. CIOs should leverage this research to gain a better understanding of AI capabilities in relation to developing or refining their ERP strategy. Not all ERP vendors are able to meet all of AI needs. A modern thinking enterprise should develop an AI strategy that explores the use of some forms of AI within its business. One of the inputs of AI is structured data, and some of the largest generators of structured data are ERP applications. Thus, there are logical consequences between an AI strategy and its post-modern ERP counterpart, and these should certainly harmonise and not interfere with each other.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to be transformational and is at the core of the concept of ‘digital business’. Post-modern ERP is a vital component of this as well as any initiative towards business change, as it provides the digital DNA around which all future direction can be coordinated. The broad impact of AI is already being felt in organisations and this will only grow.
Key benefits of Artificial Intelligence for a business:
- Saves time and money by automating routine processes and tasks
- Increases productivity and operational efficiencies
- Helps to make faster business decisions based on outputs from cognitive technologies
- Avoids mistakes and ‘human error’, provided that smart systems are set up properly
- Uses insight to predict customer preferences and offer them a better and more personalised experience
- Mines vast amount of data to generate quality leads and grow your customer base
- Achieves cost savings, by optimising your business, your workforce or your products
- Increases revenue by identifying and maximising sales opportunities
- Grows expertise by enabling analysis and offers intelligent advice and support
How does Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning work in Acumatica?
Acumatica has an ongoing commitment to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence harnesses the power of modern systems to develop automated tasks normally assigned to line staff. Machine Learning uses algorithms that allow software programs to learn to detect significant patterns. Both have matured to the point where now they have become key technologies used, in particular, by modern finance directors.
Artificial Intelligence helps to automate complex processes, identify future trends based on historical data and provide an objective interpretation of performance. Using AI and ML, a good ERP system can predict the extent of time, say, in weeks, that you will sell the most inventory or what types of inventory yield the highest profit margins. Machine Learning can help CFOs understand patterns and disparate connections that are too difficult to see without an exceptional overarching handle on data. This includes external data that may impact an organisation’s performance, such as the weather, natural disasters and commodity price fluctuations.
Artificial Intelligence’s role can be to improve the financial management of a business. Simple accounting programs hold information on current bank balances, accounts receivable and accounts payable and from, at a glance functions, key data can be jointly presented such as;- top yielding customer balances, purchase debt projections and ‘period to period’ revenue comparisons. Using technology in this way helps the performance of all functions and not only saves time and effort but helps in vital moments of decision making.
Key benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Accounting:
- Reads/translates invoices
- Automates workflows
- Sets and manages alerts when crucial supplies run low
- Tracks price changes among suppliers
- Identifies the lowest cost supplier, even among shifting prices
- Gathers journal entries for audits
- Evaluates transactions for data patterns
- Automates monthly closing
Final thoughts. The aim of ERP is to connect all of your business into one system to enable faster, better-informed decisions. Artificial Intelligence can make a positive contribution to the way an enterprise operates today. It changes the way we think about business, enables the creation of completely new operating models and allows us to do things that never seemed possible before. All this might seem too futuristic for some but early adopters have already carved out new market space by dramatically reshaping their cost and operational structures. This leaner business model offers far reaching benefits in terms of profit opportunity, agility and a freshly engaged workforce primed to look outwards to the customer and not inwards towards cumbersome procedures and bottlenecks.