Artificial intelligence in ERP systems

Production Planning and Control

New technologies in the field of artificial intelligence could revolutionize modern ERP solutions in the future. ©, TheDigitalArtist (CCO)
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Artificial intelligence is on the rise in many areas. Even modern ERP systems should now increasingly be linked to AI technologies. The mind games of IT developers are still in their infancy. The economy is watching the potential that the new technology approaches could hold.

On-premise ERP, cloud-based ERP systems, tailor-made solutions for SMEs, large corporations and corporations, there is no lack of sophisticated ERP solutions tailored to the individual needs of individual companies. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) opportunities have evolved visibly over the past few years and today provide companies with high-quality, flexible support in optimizing process flows.

Since science does not rest on its successes, innovative minds in search of modern technologies are already taking things one step further. What the storage worlds of the cloud were yesterday, that is the combination of ERP systems with artificial intelligence for the future. The opportunities that this technology could offer for business software are already affecting the IT industry worldwide today.

This is how artificial intelligence is supposed to revolutionize ERP systems

When it comes to the possibilities that artificial intelligence could offer in the technological field, science is still in its infancy. Even the use in ERP systems is still shaky legs. However, scientists already presented the desired goals and potential applications in April as part of the Big-Data.AI Summit in Berlin. He speaks of a "key technology of digital transformation". Frank Termer, head of software at bitkom, but also of limited use cases in the ERP environment and of a very young technology in which suppliers and users cautiously but full of excitement.

"ERP systems as the digital process and data hub in companies are increasingly enriched with AI technologies, " said the expert. "Currently, the range of ERP providers is still manageable and the number of use cases on the customer side is still rather small. Nevertheless, it is foreseeable that in the future AI will be deeply rooted in the core processes and will also lead to fully automated processes. " display

In principle, a rather broad field of application would be conceivable in the advanced stage of development. Especially in the field of automated real-time translations, which could even take into account the respective context of conversation, data analysis, fully automated customer contacts and quality control in the service area, satisfaction analyzes for the prognosis of customer complaints, optimization of maintenance intervals by the automated Evaluation of machine data and fully automated planning and control of projects can present IT specialists with a useful use of artificial intelligence in ERP systems. However, these applications should only be the first step into a world full of possibilities.

Lack of data and high development costs as a hurdle for small businesses

As interesting as the possibilities of artificial intelligence in ERP systems for the process optimization of companies may be, they are nevertheless bound by certain conditions in order to be able to work efficiently. This means, first and foremost, that the underlying algorithms need data feeds from which they can generate their decision-making. To ensure that programmed algorithms can be sufficiently trained, the largest possible amount of company data is required.

Small and medium-sized companies, in particular, are confronted with this basic requirement by a serious problem, because a sufficient amount of data is often simply not available. Thus, the AI ‚Äč‚Äčtechnologies developed so far for modern ERP systems are still reaching the limits of their applicability.

Another obstacle for smaller companies should be the cost issue. Those who do not have AI experts in their own ranks will hardly be able to afford the programming effort for an individually designed AI-supported ERP system. After all, the algorithms on which the new concepts are based have not yet reached a stage of development that would enable universal solutions for different companies. The tailor-made conception of business software is therefore still an investment that often exceeds the scope of small and medium-sized enterprises.

A detailed position paper with all current information on the state of research and development of KI in ERP systems is available for free download from the internet presence of bitkom. Not only expert opinions on application options and the cost-benefit factor of artificial intelligence in ERP systems are interesting, but also tips from IT specialists for small and medium-sized companies who are interested in domestic use for the implementation of the new technology.

These should necessarily be based on the right prerequisites and be aware of the risks and potential constraints inherent in their own business structure. Above all, questions of liability, the experts say, can cause problems, because the more automated and complex a process becomes and the more control artificial intelligence takes over, the less decisions and their consequences can be made on an individual basis Nachll be comprehensible.

Despite a variety of approaches and thinking models, the common consensus among IT developers is that artificial intelligence in ERP systems should be used across industries to help companies with their business regardless of their business support the latest technologies. However, patience is needed here. KI offers enormous opportunities. To optimize individual tasks and processes, the solutions are already relatively good, "says Termer hopefully, albeit cautiously. "Of course, we will still be years away from a self-controlling ERP system that manages complex corporate processes on its own, if not decades away."