From text comprehension, through image recognition and right up to complex diagnosis: Artificial intelligence has made enormous progress in recent years, which then present new scenarios for use in a business setting. More and more ERP vendors are offering corresponding functionalities: But how refined and workable are these offerings in reality? This was investigated by the Center for Enterprise Research at the University of Potsdam as part of its renowned "ERP System of the Year" award, which was presented yesterday evening in Frankfurt. The prize for the new "AI Applications in ERP" category was awarded to Asseco Solutions, whose solution APplus is already able to support customers with powerful artificial intelligence in application areas such as process optimization, warehouse optimization, or lead generation. For the ERP specialists in Karlsruhe, the award is the ninth accolade they have received from the expert panel.
"That the future of ERP lies within AI is without question for us", said Ralf Bachthaler, Executive Board member of Asseco Solutions. "Yet the use of artificial intelligence must not be considered an end in itself. For this reason, we already started to develop sensible application scenarios in close collaboration with our customers years ago, to find ways to support these scenarios with corresponding technical functionality. In addition to our own pool of ideas, we continue to rely on this exchange and are always open to the realization of exciting new ideas. Concepts that prove themselves through this process will sooner or later find their way into a standard module. This ensures that our customers are taken into account when we develop our AI functionality, so that it always realizes a genuine requirement, thus providing true value for the daily business of the user."
An Overview of the AI Functions
The result of this customer-oriented development approach are the varied AI modules that APplus supports in its standard version and that were thoroughly investigated by the expert jury as part of the award presentation. To name a few, the Asseco AI enables:
- Process Optimization and Automation
Processes are the beating heart of every ERP system. The corresponding solutions are the ideal source of answers for the question of how processes actually are executed in practice within a company. Using the latest process mining technology, APplus can present corresponding information in an anonymized manner, providing the foundation for an AI-based analysis of processes. This in turn enables the identification of potential for optimization and processes that always execute in an identical manner can even be completely automated if desired, in order to relieve employees of time-consuming routines.
- AI-Supported Warehouse Optimization
With a further AI module, APplus analyzes the historical warehouse data and, with this basis, calculates the optimal configuration of the corresponding parameters (planning type, minimum stock, purchase order quantity, lot sizes, etc.). In doing so, the solution also considers planned orders as well as relevant external information such as macro-economic trends. On this basis, it is then possible to generate precise purchase order proposals so that, in an ideal case, the entire warehouse planning run can be superseded by AI.
- Made-to-Measure Dashboards for Every User
The APplus AI wizard is able to make suggestions for the configuration of tailor-made views and dashboards for each user using suitable user interface elements. For this, the system learns each individual's usage of APplus using anonymous observation – then enhanced by user profiles, interaction patterns of other users in similar roles or also industry-specific scenarios.
- Automated Sales Research and Lead Generation
Using AI-based text comprehension, APplus is able to automatically understand publicly available sources such as news posts, social media posts, RSS feeds, and customer or interested party homepage contents. It then correctly assigns them and uses the respective contents to derive conclusions. This relieves sales personnel from time-consuming research.
Further, based on the existing customer master, similar companies can be found and thereby, new leads automatically generated.
An Industry Prize with Tradition
For the sixteenth time, the renowned expert committee of the Center for Enterprise Research at the University of Potsdam selected the "ERP System of the Year" on October 27. To determine the prize winners, the relevant solutions were evaluated according to seven criteria: Implementation methodology, real customer benefits, ergonomics, technology and integration scope, industry suitability via specific functions, customer communication and sales marketing as well as research and development.