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Intelligent automation ticks all the ERP boxes for SA medium-sized businesses

Johannesburg, 19 Jun 2024
Devon Rimmington, owner and Director at ERP and accounting software specialist, Brilliant Cloud.
Devon Rimmington, owner and Director at ERP and accounting software specialist, Brilliant Cloud.

Despite the hype around generative AI, the technology is not yet mature enough to support mission-critical ERP functions. However, intelligent, automated and cloud-based ERP is already within reach of medium-sized businesses, ticking all the boxes for smart and virtually autonomous ERP.

This is according to Devon Rimmington, owner and Director at ERP and accounting software specialist, Brilliant Cloud.

Rimmington says: “Increasingly, businesses are using AI, and looking into generative AI, to gain efficiencies and speed up decision-making. Generative AI tools have developed enormously in a very short time; however, they are still finding their way in ERP software. For example, many ERP publishers are developing and incorporating conversational AI bots such as ChatGPT and Copilot into their core products. This type of AI allows for easy conversational type requests for information and will eventually allow for users to request the AI to capture or process data and transactions into the ERP software.”

However, he cautions: “While the benefits of generative AI are enormous, business leaders must also be aware of current challenges which come with these types of AI. Unreliable feedback is often provided by generative AI bots due to ‘hallucinations’ – incorrect and unreliable outputs. Generative AI may also return biased results due to the source of the data with which they determined their results. Security is also a very important factor to take into account.”

User-driven AI the right fit for ERP

Rimmington says while generative AI is still new to the ERP space, AI and machine learning have already transformed ERP in solutions such as Acumatica ERP. This cloud-based solution allows medium-sized businesses to tick key boxes such as agility, value, simple management and automation, and analytics, dashboarding, reporting and access to information within the software.

Brilliant Cloud is a Gold Certified Acumatica business partner in South Africa and among the top three international business partners for Acumatica Cloud ERP.

Rimmington says: “We haven’t found another ERP platform that is as effective at addressing the specific needs of businesses such as manufacturers, distributors, field services organisations and e-commerce businesses.”

Rimmington says these sectors find particular value from Acumatica’s mobile app, intelligent inventory and order management and advanced fulfilment features.

He explains that Acumatica has made it a priority to incorporate machine learning and AI into its platform, with a particular emphasis placed on user-driven AI.

“The software allows for easy setting up and modification of automation processes throughout all the modules. This allows organisations to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and quickly build an automated process to streamline complex processes,” he says.

“Functionality such as custom business events allow for organisations to set up alerts when certain criteria are met. An example of this is to have the software automatically prepare replenishment of inventory levels or place customer accounts on hold should they exceed a pre-determined overdue age. These automations can also allow for automatic communication between employees, customers and suppliers when required.”

In addition, time-consuming repetitive tasks such as accounts payable invoice capturing can also be sped up using the built-in document AP recognition functionality, whereby the software can create the supplier invoice simply by dragging the relevant supplier invoice onto a screen or by extracting supplier documents from a standardised e-mail address.

Built-in generic enquiries (custom data sets) and related dashboard analytics allow for accurate and fast access to business-critical information which, with the ticking of a single checkbox, is also made available on the standard mobile application.

Acumatica brings intelligent automation to medium size businesses, with features that enable agility, make processes more intelligent, save costs, add value and reduce business risk, Rimmington says. Acumatica offers improved efficiency and productivity, enhanced decision-making capabilities, cost savings and ROI, reduction in human error and scalability for growing businesses.

Rimmington says Brilliant Cloud, which has specialised in the ERP space since 2002, has the infrastructure and expertise to help customers optimise the benefits of Acumatica in their businesses. “We have a large team of Acumatica consultants and developers to help customers enable automation of any processes – whether on the front end or within Acumatica,” he says. “While Acumatica is so intuitive and simple to use that many customers are automating processes themselves, we bring the expertise and business knowledge to help optimise the environment and manage more complex development.”