There is no doubt that recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have been the craze. ChatGPT, the generative AI engine released to the public in 2022, has become a household name. There have been numerous articles written about all the ways our businesses and our lives will change due to advances in AI – some very promising and some very alarming.
With all of the hype surrounding AI, how can you make sense of it all and ensure you’re leveraging AI’s promise and limiting its perils for their organizations?
The good news is that AI is a software-based tool and, as such, can be viewed as part of an organization’s application portfolio. Middle market organizations have an advantage over larger enterprises on this front, since their operations usually leverage a smaller set of applications. These applications, which support everything from customer relationship management to operations and finance, form the digital backbone of most middle market organizations. The nature of these applications will also play a key role in how your organization can leverage emerging AI technologies.
All major business software providers, including Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Salesforce, have introduced AI-enabled features within their business application suites. These features can assist users with tasks such as drafting emails, reviewing contracts, and ordering inventory in a faster and more efficient manner. Software providers have been acquiring these capabilities either from their in-house R&D labs or by licensing them from external entities, and they are aggressively building features for their upcoming releases.
If you’re using the latest version of business applications from leading vendors or are planning to migrate onto such applications, you’ll easily be able to access these new AI-enabled features. You can continue to assess their capabilities as part of your ongoing software upgrades and enhancement management programs, and can strategize how newer features can be utilized for competitive advantage. On the other hand, if you’re running outdated applications or working with smaller software vendors that lack deep AI capabilities, it will be more challenging to leverage the latest AI capabilities in a seamless manner.
Similar to change management considerations when introducing newly released functions or features with any business application, executives must be actively involved in understanding how new AI-enabled features can be effectively utilized within the organization. Ensure you’re taking a holistic look at how these features and functions could impact your organization, both internally and externally, to craft a well thought out action plan. It’s also important to consider how you might need to restructure your operational processes to take advantage of these opportunities while maintaining your strategic objectives. Then, be ready to tweak your plans as needed due to rapid changes in emerging technologies.
This is an exciting time for middle market executives and business owners to harvest the latest technological promises of AI automation. In order to do so successfully, it’s important to partner with leading ERP providers, stay up-to-date on applications, and review and plan holistically in order to take advantage of AI-enabled features.
If you would like to discuss your organization’s ERP systems and learn how AI can positively impact your business, please contact us.