As organisations attempt to peer into the crystal ball, trying to understand what the future holds in store for them, a few predictions strongly indicate the shape of things to come. According to the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Intelligent ERP 2017 Predictions, 35% of businesses in 2018 will be looking at intelligent ERP systems for optimal utilisation of resources and to improve processes. In other words, one out of three entities will be looking at assistive and conversational interfaces in ERP applications, given the present levels of AI.

AI in a frontline and enabled role

Industry specific applications will see AI playing a greater frontline role, enabling automation of processes and to uncover insightful information from data residing in ERP systems. Predictive management of inventories, forecasting of achievable targets and assistance in pricing strategies are just a few of the areas where AI will play a more dominant role. This will help organisations in dynamically pricing products and services, rather than a rigid keystone pricing formula.

Embedded intelligence

This will be a goal post for future businesses. Decision support in ERP will demand the utilisation of embedded intelligence, for better support, and for organisations that ignore this, it will certainly be a revelation of what could have been a differentiator. And talking of differentiators, AI in ERP will gradually become the new norm, and not remain a differentiator.

Moving from on-premise to the cloud

AI and by extension machine learning, works better on the cloud than on-premise systems. This will result in a greater shift to the cloud, offering better avenues for machine learning. ERP, when it first arrived on the scene was designed to function in an environment that was limited. However, with the advent of new-fangled technologies and processes through the wave of digital transformation, ERP has evolved to different roles.

AI in ERP is a natural progression, offering adaptive applications in typical organisational processes. Analytics in predictions and recommendations will definitely be the change that ERP needs as a differentiator, and AI is slowly helping ERP edge closer to that reality.