Industrial enterprise resource specialist company Syspro says data will become more consistent and accurate as more machines and business systems are connected, which will also lead to greater volumes of data.
This will necessitate that companies analyse this stream of data intelligently, as well as eliminate noise and focus on the value in the data, says Syspro Africa regional product manager Deirdré Fryer.
Subsequently, the ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) to manage this process, as well as the upskilling of the workforce to be able to make decisions and understand the value of the information that is presented, becomes more important.
Insights are often based on data at some point in time, which reveals the situation at that time. AI insights come into play to predict what will happen, based on past trends, results or behaviour.
“AI has the ability to use multiple data inputs, such as the data of previous deliveries, taking into account seasonal fluctuations, the fact that the suppliers factory is shut down for a week during that time for maintenance, or possibly that this is a trending month for traffic increase, and predict a probability of success and possible problems based on all these factors,” she explains.
While there are always exceptions, most businesses would like to act on information that is available or manage client expectations. AI provides insight into probability so that users are equipped to deal with business challenges and manage client expectations.
For example, AI can inform a purchasing manager that the probability of a purchase order to a supplier in March being late is 10%, while the same purchase order to the same supplier captured in November has an 80% probability of being late, she explains.
Syspro Harmony, using AI capabilities, brings a collection of data from across the organisation and presents it as a social media experience. Users can gain insight and respond to business needs by embracing social media behaviour.
Users can support or ‘like’ sales, comment on returns or credits being passed, follow clients or suppliers and see their activity across the organisation, while the data and information are kept secure. The system provides timely, user- and process-specific information in a user-friendly format that allows for collaboration and information sharing.
With new technologies appearing, such as drones being used for delivery, a company must be able to quickly assess if a technology is beneficial and whether this will have a long-term effect, she explains.
“Their industrial enterprise resource planning systems must be flexible to accommodate new uses and support new business models.”
Being able to analyse route options, improve logistics plans, accurately predict that the organisation will have the right product in the right place and at the right time will help companies to remain successful, she adds.
With so many internal and external variables affecting processes and deliverables, AI, the Internet of Things and collaboration will become necessities in any organisation, concludes Fryer.