Virtual Assistants Join The Corporate Finance Team

AI solutions can boost productivity

Artificial intelligence adoption continues to grow in the corporate world, and as businesses look to broaden margins, save money and drive strategic operations, the finance department is a prime target for AI-powered solutions.

Increasingly, as consumers become more comfortable interacting and conversing with virtual bots and digital assistants, these technologies are stepping into corporate finance departments and finance teams, too.

“We’re seeing AI and data analytics play an increasingly larger role in the way organizations maximize the value of their data across multiple functions,” said Alok Ajmera, president of corporate performance management software provider, Prophix, when the company announced its latest AI-powered digital assistant for corporate finance professionals this week. “The Office of Finance is now ready to adopt this technology, in a market ripe for disruption, with cloud enablement at the forefront of innovation.”

The data supports Ajmera’s position: according to Gartner, half of corporate finance organizations expect to have some type of AI deployed by 2020. Polaris Market Research says intelligent virtual assistant technology is expected to be a $21.5 billion market by 2026 as demand grows from small and medium-sized businesses, too.

PYMNTS breaks down the latest in virtual assistant product development for corporate finance from industry leaders including Oracle, Microsoft and others.

Prophix Deploys AI In The Mid-Market

Corporate performance management software company Prophix announced Tuesday (Sept. 24) the rollout of its Virtual Financial Analyst. Targeted toward middle-market firms, the artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant connects finance executives to insights and analytics designed to support decision making and lower risk.

Leveraging natural language processing and machine learning, the solution allows corporate finance teams to “leverage the power of AI to automate the completion of time-consuming, error-prone, routine tasks, and quickly draw greater insights, enabling them to play a more strategic role in business operations,” according to Ajmera. “The new AI add-on capabilities are the foundational building blocks of Prophix’s broader and long-term AI strategy, and we’re excited to begin rolling out these advancements.”

Oracle Debuts Supply Chain Virtual Assistant

Last week, Oracle announced an update to its Supply Chain Management Cloud solution with new features that include a digital assistant. The technology allows supply chain managers to converse with the technology and obtain insights into ongoing activity, including current operations status, as well as deviations and incident tracking and reporting.

Though the tool will first focus on connecting users to insights within logistics operations, Oracle said it plans to expand its capabilities across all areas of supply chain management.

“To outpace change and stay ahead of competitors amid changing market conditions, organizations need technology that removes complexity and provides clear and actionable insights into their business,” said Oracle Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Supply Chain Management Project Strategy Jon Chorley in a statement.

VMware Introduces Digital Workplace Assistant

VMware, a company developing digital workspace solutions, announced Monday (Sept. 23) the latest updates to its Workspace One platform with a slew of new features that include a virtual assistant.

Designed to provide professionals with a broad range of support, its Intelligent Hub Virtual Assistant was developed in collaboration with IBM Watson and uses natural language processing to understand and respond to both voice and text inquiries. The technology can handle various tasks including providing guidance on questions or open applications for users without compromising security and accessibility controls.

Microsoft Tracks AI’s Opportunity For Productivity

In another initiative focused on bringing artificial intelligence to the workplace, Microsoft continues development of its Cortana virtual personal assistant designed to promote productivity.

“The thing that excites me is to take a step back and think about what is the promise of natural language systems,” Microsoft technical fellow Dan Klein said during its Build conference held in Washington in May, according to Quartz. “It’s not being able to push a button with your voice. That’s cool, but the true promise of a natural language system is to be able to do a wide range of things with uniform interface that’s natural to you, that’s quicker than the alternative.”

More recent reports in Fast Company noted Microsoft is investing in its Cortana technology to introduce not only new features to help professionals boost productivity, but to address modern workforce needs that change the way professionals actually complete the work.