ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Systems refer to software and tools used to connect the myriad crucial business functions like, manufacturing, finance, supply chain, logistics, HR, customer support, sales, and bring them under one roof. In essence, they integrate all these functions into one smooth system for easy planning, budgeting, predicting, and reporting for aiding a business’s fundamentals and financial stability.
While AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a relatively brand new technology, it has permeated into nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Whenever Netflix recommends a show to you, or Amazon tells you to buy something or Spotify suggests you a song/artist that you probably had never heard of, you are experiencing the magic of AI. In fact, a Gartner report claims that AI will be a core enabler for nearly every new software by 2020.
Though, it’s not just the consumer market that has reaped the dividends of AI advances. The B2B market, in general, and ERP systems, in particular, have also accrued tremendous benefits from AI integrations. Let us look at five ways in which AI solutions are supercharging ERP systems:
AI has been transformative for the end-to-end sales funnel. AI solutions can aid your business in prospecting, lead qualification, lead nurturing, pricing changes, user segmentation, and much more. AI can give a bird’s eye view of your Marketing and Sales expenses so that you can manage costs more efficiently and predict revenue more accurately. Armed with AI solutions, your ERP systems can help you cross-sell to a new customer or upsell an existing customer with military-grade precision.
Customer service has become a breeze, thanks to AI solutions. Nearly every business employs AI chatbots to address common, mundane user queries in the blink of an eye. This frees up support agents’ time and mental bandwidth so that they can focus on solving the bigger and more complex customer issues. You can now easily book a flight, order groceries, apply for a loan, and a lot more just by talking to smart, invisible, but human-like AI bots.
A significant plus of an AI-enabled ERP system is that it can be proactive. For instance, it can analyze KPI metrics and other performance data to tell you which employees deserve a raise and how much their raise should be. This kind of fair objective appraisal process also ensures that other employees not getting a satisfactory bonus are not disgruntled, thereby boosting retention and reducing employee churn.
AI is also simplifying the hiring process by running background checks on applicants and screening them more effectively based on relevant skills and experiences. Even employee onboarding and training protocols can be tailored based on AI-informed data.
Plugging in AI solutions into your finance and accounting system can expedite multiple cumbersome and repetitive processes. For example, AI can automate quarterly reporting and forecast financials based on current business trends and market data. It can help you bucket invoice data into different categories and can tell you the difference between an operational expense like a computer purchase and a monthly SaaS subscription.
Warehousing and Inventory
Perhaps the most significant impact of AI solutions into ERP systems can be felt in Inventory Management because it directly dictates whether the product can be manufactured reliably and on time or not. It ensures that key raw materials never run out of stock. And as soon as the stock reaches an exhaustion limit, AI programs can immediately trigger an alert to the admin to requisition and replenish the stock from the warehouse.
Furthermore, AI can run countless demand forecasting models accurately, taking into account real-time changes in parameters like changes in demand, raw material scarcity, supply chain logjams, etc.
The bottom line
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, the pace of AI automation in business processes is only going to speed up, thereby making existing ERP systems more robust and agile.