B2B Payments

The ERP Emerges As Top Target For AI Developers

As far as B2B FinTech goes, much attention has been paid to empowering a range of processes, including accounts payable, expense management and financial analysis many of which had previously been a part of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

While innovation and digital disruption have taken these financial processes out of the ERP and made them independent platforms for corporate users, the ERP remains a critical component of financial management in the enterprise, particularly for larger firms. In the age of digitization, the ERP has also emerged as an important collection spot for essential company data.

New research from Evans Data found the ERP isn’t immune to FinTech innovation, either.

According to its report, the “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Survey,” published last week, the ERP software industry remains the number-one target of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) developers. More than 58 percent of the surveyed developers noted they either plan to integrate, or already have integrated, AI into their ERP software solutions.

Interestingly, these developers widely believe that the ERP will eventually be replaced by AI and machine learning technologies.

ERP beat out human resources (HR) and workflow automation to become the top target of AI developers, though researchers noted that most developers predicted these additional two areas to be entirely replaced by AI.

Furthermore, developers are aware of key challenges to adopting AI, including the process of transitioning from legacy systems to digital, AI-powered platforms. It’s unclear in the survey what it would mean for an ERP or other enterprise solution to be replaced by artificial technology. However, according to Evans Data CEO Janel Garvin, developers are bracing for AI to disrupt the human talent within these areas of the enterprise, including their own jobs.

“One of the interesting things about the advent of AI throughout our society is the fact that the software developers themselves look to be one of the primary groups whose professions will be disrupted,” said Garvin in a statement. “When we look at the types of projects that AI developers are working on, it’s clear that, in time, the need for human programmers may be reduced through ever-more sophisticated tools or, in some cases, supplanted by AI altogether.”

Earlier this year, Oracle published its “The End of Technology Obsolescence, ERP Trends in 2018” report, and found that more than three quarters of professionals have either migrated their ERPs into the cloud or intend to do so. While migrating the ERP into the cloud may have its own challenges, Oracle’s survey revealed that professionals are taking on the task in an effort to avoid the costs and friction associated with maintaining and upgrading on-premise systems.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) were cited in the report as emerging technologies that are disrupting ERP solutions as they embrace cloud technology, and most survey respondents said they are using their cloud ERPs to automatically generate reports (yet, nearly half continue to use spreadsheets, the survey noted).

According to Joe Scioscia, VP of sales at ERP solutions provider VAI, the digitization of the ERP is part of the organization’s broader efforts to not only migrate its platforms into the cloud, but to turn the ERP into the centralized system to aggregate all the data available from those cloud platforms.

“People understand today that having all of these different, unintegrated applications is truly not the most effective way to go,” he said in an interview with PYMNTS in August. “While there are a lot of good apps out there that assist users in collecting the data, all of that data really needs to reside in one central repository in the end. An ERP system is the perfect spot for that.”

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