Going Beyond ERP – Artificial Intelligence-Based Business Applications

Trent Weier

In my last blog, I discussed how digital complacency could put your business at risk and how technological change is fast outpacing businesses’ ability to adapt.

This trend continues its relentless pursuit to consume those who choose to answer today’s questions with yesterday’s thinking. Furthermore, yet another transformational technology is now redefining the industry, and it has the potential to change everything.

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data. This, combined with advancements in real time in-memory analysis of both structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise, make the possibilities fueled by machine learning endless.

Computers have historically suffered from a key limitation – they must follow the rules inherent in their design.

But as with Mother Nature, evolution has created machines that can now see, read, listen, understand, interact, and most importantly, adapt.

Machine learning is not a new concept, but the combination of improvements in hardware, the low cost of computing memory, and the explosion of Big Data have renewed its momentum, making concepts like deep learning algorithms (cognitive computing), as well as supervised and unsupervised learning, highly viable and, in turn, making it easier for machines to learn.

Benefits of machine learning and AI

  • Business process acceleration: With AI-based business processes, typical bottlenecks and workflow inefficiencies associated with handling exceptions or erroneous transactions can be eliminated, optimizing traditional product and service offerings and, in turn, greatly reducing back-office costs and improving TCO.
  • New insight: One of the most exciting uses for machine learning is understanding patterns in Big Data. As more data is collected and analyzed, predictions will improve, giving organizations insights previously not achievable through human endeavors. The impact this real-time, 360-degree decision support will have on executive decision making will be game changing.
  • Better business outcomes: Human error, quality and relevance of information, combined with the high cost of rework and poor decision making have forever been a struggle for business.  Machine learning has proven to eliminate these challenges through highly automated processes with little or no reliance on human intervention.

The future of enterprise resource planning

As we look forward to the future, machine learning will have a defining impact on every business in every industry. To truly understand the value of an integrated AI and enterprise resource planning platform, organizations must revisit their technology strategies and road maps to ensure their business doesn’t fall behind on the evolutionary scale.

Learn more about machine learning at the upcoming SAP Art of the Possible 2017 roadshow across Australia and New Zealand in March.


Trent Weier

About Trent Weier

Trent brings 15 years of technology strategy, execution and digital value creation experience to SAP and its many customers. As a member of the industry value engineering team, Trent is focused on the chemicals, energy and natural resources sectors, showcasing to customers the business value of challenging traditional business models while creating disruption through industry leading innovation.