Today, effective enterprise resource management is impossible without a reliable ERP solution coupled with artificial intelligence (AI). This type of software facilitates processes related to sales, finances, inventory, supply chain, and human resources management, enabling companies to manage even a complex, global and growing business. According to Software Path 2022 ERP Software Project report, over 30% of enterprises are adopting ERP specifically to support their business growth.
Despite the importance and usefulness of ERP, the data from Panorama Consulting Group shows that only half (52%) of organizations are satisfied with the results of implementing these software solutions. However, the adoption of innovative technologies such as AI can increase the satisfaction of enterprises by enhancing ERP with additional capabilities.
AI Benefits for ERP
Today, AI-powered software systems have evolved enough to be able to read, recognize speech, execute transactions, place orders, make predictions and conduct other tasks related to enterprise resource management. Coupled with machine learning technology, AI-based ERPs can also continuously train to perform the aforementioned activities even better.
Today, ERP solutions empowered with AI are considered the best-of-breed enterprise technology in their niche. By purchasing or developing an ERP system integrated with artificial intelligence, an enterprise can achieve the following goals:
Performance and productivity improvement
Since AI allows for easy and quick automation of any work processes in ERP, organizations can continuously increase performance and, as a result, competitiveness.
By reducing the role of the human factor both in day-to-day ERP operations and decision-making, enterprises can eliminate a range of risks associated with manual work. For example, enterprises can utilize AI-based ERP to prevent mistakes during data entry.
Reduction of enterprise resource planning cost
The ability to cut and optimize costs is critical to the growth and development of any business, and this is where AI-powered ERP capabilities can come in handy. For example, by delegating tasks related to procurement to an AI tool, organizations can use fewer staff for resource management and thus save some money.
4 use cases of AI in ERP
Artificial intelligence can be implemented into enterprise resource planning in the following ways:
Autonomous Business Process Management
In recent years, organizations have been increasingly implementing ERPs with functionality for automating various tasks – creating invoices, processing orders, managing the supply chain, etc. However, by integrating AI and ERP, enterprises can go beyond that and choose a more revolutionary and advanced approach to workflow automation – autonomous business process (ABP) management.
Unlike conventional automation, whose primary goal is to replace manual labor with automated interactions, ABP focuses instead on continuous analysis and improvement of automated workflows. Now let us consider an example to see how it might work in practice.
For instance, an enterprise has an ERP solution that automates the procurement process. The software generates requests and sends them to suppliers when a particular item in the warehouse is running out. If this ERP is equipped with ABP capabilities, it can automatically detect bottlenecks in the procurement process, provide recommendations, and, if necessary, even make dynamic changes in the workflow.
The efficient work of a large enterprise requires all its departments to be synchronized with each other, and here ERP solutions prove indispensable. Working as a centralized data hub, an ERP system facilitates collaboration by providing employees with any data they need anytime via a single access point. Nevertheless, AI integrated into the corporate ERP can improve the collaboration process even more significantly.
For instance, AI can help track the performance of enterprise employees, identifying those who reduced their activity or have issues with one or another aspect of ERP. The software can then automatically notify more experienced colleagues so they can help team members who are experiencing troubles. Also, if an ERP system is equipped with natural language processing, employees can use voice commands to manage their work calendars or quickly book meetings with colleagues.
What is more, the integration of AI and ERP allows organizations to improve the quality of customer service and support. For instance, an ERP system can quickly provide relevant data at the request of support agents, helping them with customer communication. Likewise, an AI-powered system can analyze a particular customer’s purchase history and transactions in just a couple of seconds, allowing agents to define a suitable solution to a customer’s issue.
Enterprises also can integrate ERPs with intelligent bots that can communicate with disgruntled customers or those who require help. Using machine learning models, these bots can continuously learn, which enables them to maintain a more human-like conversation and provide more accurate and relevant responses.
Speaking of data analytics, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the capabilities of AI combined with ERP are almost limitless here. So, as we have already mentioned, AI can analyze workflows’ data to suggest and implement improvements, but these are not all the capacities of intelligent ERP analytics.
In particular, it is worth noting that the power of machine learning enables ERPs to identify hidden sales and marketing opportunities. For example, an ERP system can analyze people’s buying behavior and preferences to provide managers with insights into the most profitable market segments or marketing campaigns improvement.
Even more important, AI can provide forecasting capabilities, enabling making precise future predictions. This way, AI can help employees identify periods of high demand and recommend increasing or decreasing production volumes. In the same way, an ERP can help to identify changes in customer buying patterns, which can be critical in times when market conditions are constantly changing.
Enterprise resource planning systems play a vital role in how modern enterprises manage their corporate resources and ERP-related workflows. Since this software facilitates such different tasks as supply chain management, procurement, customer support, and many more, ERP is a must-have tool for any growing business.
However, the solution’s value can be significantly increased if an enterprise integrates it with artificial intelligence. This way, organizations can leverage autonomous business process management, foster collaboration and customer support, and improve analytics, thus enhancing their business efficiency and competitiveness.