AI and Chatbots, The Future of Business Is Here - Part 2
By Dermot Murray, VP of Ideation
The adoption of “Smart Tech” by corporate organisations to deliver Business to Business and Business to Employee interactions for their ERP-related business processes is a hot topic. In Part 1 of this blog I discussed the technical considerations for these deployments, and explored the state of the solutions that are currently available from Oracle and other providers. My conclusion was that the tools have reached a level of maturity to support the deployment of these types of digital assistants out to a wide audience through a variety of channels. But still the deployment of these is proving to be slow and limited. Why is that?
Here at Inoapps, we believe that while AI-based digital assistant technology may be ready and fit for purpose within the world of ERP, customers need to address six key business process and “Change” considerations before viable and effective solutions will see widespread adoption.
1. Suitability - Not every business process will be suitable for these types of interactions. Functions such as entering an invoice or creating a new staff record require the rich dialogue and context that is simply not feasible or efficient through a digital assistant. Business processes need to be linear, easily mapped into a simple dialogue and presented to the user in a clear and concise manner. Only by identifying those business processes that will have value added to them through the delivery via an alternative, digital channel will it be possible to ensure that deployment is successful.
2. Delivery - The process must be delivered through a medium which the user is comfortable with. It’s essential to consider the audience for a particular process and the environment that they are working in. Staff in an open plan office, for example, are not going to be comfortable using an Alexa based voice interaction in the office, whereas it would be ideal for a home-based colleague who is booking a holiday while they are having breakfast. Allowing your customer and suppliers to interact with their account through a messenger or chat framework can also be beneficial where it is possible. It is vital to select the right channel to support the individual business process, ensuring it provides the sufficient level of context, interaction and intuitive user process to ensure a positive user outcome.
3. Authentication - For staff interactions, it’s likely that most of the channels that individuals will want to utilise will actually be linked to their own personal accounts on platforms like Amazon, Gmail and Apple. The issue here is whether your organisation feels able to allow your users to authenticate against their own accounts. A carefully considered strategy is required to ensure that every user interaction is linked to verified user and authenticated user account, and the “single source of truth” for those credentials needs to adhere to a company policy.
4. Voice Recognition - Alexa and Google Hub can be locked down to only accept a specific trained voice, but equally they can be left open so that any individual with access to the device can issue instructions. Oracle Voice also offers strong vocal capabilities and avoids the potential privacy issues associated with the use of tools from Google and Amazon. You need to consider which option is right for your organisation. When it comes to interactions with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders there needs to be further consideration about preventing unauthorised access.
5. Security - The combination of the business process to be implemented, the channel to be used and the means and manner for authentication all need to be controlled and managed through a robust and governed security policy. Opening up these new channels of communication inevitably increases the risk of compromise and attack. It’s therefore vital that your ongoing security policies are adapted to reflect these new channels.
6. Employee Wellness – While technology can enable colleagues to perform a variety of new business processes through alternative channels, are these ultimately necessary and in the best interest of the organisation? Having smart technologies available to employees in their own home could, for example, create an expectation they must always be on duty, which may prove detrimental to their health and well-being over the longer term. Likewise, giving employees the ability to interact with your ERP through their mobile phones while driving raises potential duty of care and liability issues for organisations to carefully consider. As part of the deployment of these next generation of solutions, careful considerations need to be given to the social, ethical and wellness implications of enabling these technologies, and the responsibilities and expectations that come with them.
At Inoapps, we believe that these technology platforms have reached a sufficient stage of maturity to allow the successful adoption of AI solutions within business ERP. The business transformation and change management process is, however, a limiting factor, with organisations needing to address a number of important bespoke considerations before they deliver these as integrated solutions into their ERP environments. Once these required business process and cultural changes are accepted and suitably addressed, it is then possible for Oracle ERP to truly become Smart ERP.
If you're thinking about how Smart ERP technology could benefit your organisation, and the optimal approach needed to make it successful our experts can provide advice based on our vast experience of Oracle technologies. Contact the Inoapps Ideation team at firstname.lastname@example.org