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Artificial Intelligence in ERP at the Information Technology Alliance

ITA Fall Collaborative 2023

Artificial Intelligence in ERP was a key topic at the Information Technology Alliance (ITA) Fall Collaborative in St. Petersburg, FL. The semi-annual, two day meeting of leading technology providers from CPA and Consulting and Reselling firms brings together experts from industry and consulting to share knowledge and ideas. Acumatica, Microsoft, Oracle and Sage all presented how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is embedded into their products.

Current and Future Artificial Intelligence

Nicholas Webb, CEO of LeaderLogic, best selling author, and futurist, kicked off the discussion with a captivating keynote on “Chaotic Innovation.” Fueled by emerging technologies including Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence, Nick described how companies are harnessing technology to drive growth and provide an improved quality of work/life balance and customer experience. Nick encouraged business leaders to “lean into the Blur” of fast moving change and increasing complexity to create the best human experience possible for our customers and employees. We need to go beyond the transactional to experiential engagement, by knowing the unique value proposition that best serves our target customer.

The use of current Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and existing Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can eliminate redundant and routine activities that can be handled by computers to free up staff to engage with customers. RPA and AI can eliminate at least 30% of task based transactions so employees can analyze data and interact with others. As AI tools progress, Webb advocates utilization of Artificial Intelligence throughout the five customer touchpoints, from pre-touch through post sale.

Artificial Intelligence In ERP

Two ITA sessions focused on AI in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. The first session included representatives from Acumatica, Oracle NetSuite, Sage and Workday. Each representative answered questions ranging from current use of AI through potential future dangers, risks and opportunities. However, the highlight of the conference was David Ceislak’s presentation “Not Quite the End of the World As We Know It.” With the objective of helping our clients understand AI and its value to the organization, David used the following image to explain the evolution of Artificial Intelligence and its applicability to ERP.

Evolution of Artificial Intelligence

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

In ERP, RPA includes software, scripts and tools used to automate keystrokes and functions employees perform to complete a process. Over 20 examples of current RPA in ERP were provided to demonstrate the reality of RPA as today’s key trend in improving productivity. Common examples include:

  • Password resets
  • Account verification and validation
  • EFT and ACH processing as well as automated bank reconciliations
  • Elimination of duplicate and triplicated data entry in multiple systems.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence vs Artificial General Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the ability of computers to imitate human behavior, including the ability to perceive, reason, learn and make decisions. This broad definition were subdivided into three levels of intelligence:

  • Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) – Referred to as Weak AI, ANI algorithms perform a single task or function.
  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – AGI is referred to as strong AI. AGI is only currently theoretical. In AGI the machine can perceive, learn and carry out intellectual functions equal to humans. The use of large language models and machine learning with large amounts of computing power is getting us closer to AGI.
  • Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) – ASI is a theoretical AI where computers surpass human intelligence with cognitive abilities, problem-solving and even creativity. It is theorized that an ASI machine would become self-aware and have consciousness.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence in ERP

Empowered by large volumes of data and cloud computing ANI is already in ERP. Several specific examples were provided including:

  • Sage Intacct Outlier Detection
  • Mindbridge AI Auditor
  • Salesforce Einstein

These delivered functions provide continuous review of data to search for specific patterns of data that meet programmed conditions. Publishers are also providing access to their AI toolsets so customers or partners can develop their own narrow AI applications.

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence has been around for a while. In its earliest phase, AI provided little value to ERP. Today, the value of AI is increasing. The pace of AI adoption is increasing rapidly. With RPA and ANI companies can already expect to improve productivity through Digital Transformation.

According to leading experts, RPA and AI adoption can eliminate 30% or more of repetitive tasks. Regardless of your ERP platform, we can help! External tools like the BPA Platform or Celigo integrate with many cloud and legacy ERP systems. Schedule your free Digital Transformation Assessment or Contact Us to start your journey!

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