Traditionally, ERP is known as a system of record. Data streams in from different disciplines within an organization—general transactions from the financial side, inventory data from the distribution system, customer information from the CRM, and so on. The challenge, however, has been getting that mass of information out and utilizing it for insightful, informed decision making.
From limited access rights to a proprietary system (which means other applications, tools, and services can’t access it), businesses have essentially been handcuffed. They’ve had to sift their immense amounts of data manually. The result? Decision making based on aging and hard-to-come-by information.
Advantages of Open-Source ERP
Open-source software has gained a significant foothold in the business work and it is natural that open source ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are the next evolutionary step in the process. The open-source ERP and CRM solutions can be purchased by a company and used as-is.
The software companies offering open-source ERP solutions have developed products that can be used straight out of the box with limited configuration and data entry. A company can then use the product without customization in an evaluation mode before deciding on what, if any, changes are to be made. As there are no upfront licensing fees there is no major risk for the company reviewing an open-source ERP solution.
Customization of an open-source ERP is simpler than with a traditional ERP solution as the company already has the source code. Changes can be achieved by using a company’s in-house programming staff or an external programming team, which can be provided by the open-source ERP provider or by open source community developers. As consultants and programmers for the major ERP solutions such as SAP can exceed one hundred dollars an hour, the programming for an open-source solution would be considerably less.
Operating an open-source ERP solution does give a company the option of continuing to update the existing code when changes to their business processes occur or with changes to the company, such as mergers and acquisitions. With an open-source ERP implementation, there is no software provider to force upgrades when they want to discontinue support of a certain release.
Need for Cloud ERP with AI and Machine Learning
Legacy ERP systems were designed to excel at production consistency and not to deliver what was needed most. Cloud ERP responds quickly to unexpected dilemmas and makes smart decisions in order to grow the business.
They provide businesses the flexibility to prioritize growth plans over IT constraints.
Cloud platforms provide artificial intelligence and machine learning insights that rejuvenate ERP systems and open doors for new growth opportunities.
The results of AI and ML in the right cloud ERP
In their June 2018 research note, A Guide to AI in Postmodern ERP Strategies, Gartner notes that incorporating AI within an organization’s business strategy is necessary. Doing so provides game-changing benefits, including:
- Accessing and organizing all data within the cloud ERP system
- Generating reports with just a click
- Analyzing the wealth of data quickly and in real time
- Automating complex processes and reducing manual tasks
- Predicting future trends
- And more
These benefits result in an efficient and profitable business. However, and as mentioned earlier, choosing the right cloud ERP solution and vendor are imperative if a business wants to achieve these results, and Acumatica’s cloud ERP solution is worth a look.
From the outset, Acumatica designed a cloud-based ERP platform. It’s able to easily incorporate emerging technologies, such as AI and ML. We’ve broken the barriers put up by other ERP vendors (who have limited their users’ access to essential data) by offering our self-service Reporting, Dashboards, and Data Analysis Toolkit and through our work with Power BI and Tableau.
How AI Is Changing Business
Dean Abbott, chief data scientist and co-founder of SmarterHQ, believes AI should be top of mind for most business leaders. For marketers, Abbot explained, “AI means integrating more sources of data and using that data to improve the prioritization, personalization and content of marketing campaigns using machine learning algorithms.”
While many organizations are just starting to understand how AI can fit into their digital strategies, it's quickly becoming a necessity to leverage data effectively. “But the bottom line is this,” Abott stated, “leaders that use AI effectively will supplant leaders who put obstacles in the way of implementing AI because effective AI ultimately will become an integral part of successful, profitable businesses.”