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Epicor Rivals ERP Big Shots by Joining AI Arms Race
Epicor Software Corporation plans to release Epicor Virtual Agent (EVA) for general availability in May 2019. Designed by leveraging AI Services from Microsoft Azure this new digital assistant lets users interact with enterprise resource planning (ERP) via intuitive text or voice commands.
Epicor is a global provider of ERP software. EVA automates tasks and facilitates faster operations by allowing users to interact with ERP via intuitive text or voice commands. It also uses artificial intelligent (AI) to deliver alerts and execute actions based on analysis of events, market statistics, and historical data.
Scott Hays, SVP of Product Marketing at Epicor, stated, “New forms of interacting with business software solutions are a key to accelerating the pace of operations and improving the exchange of data and information. Having an intelligent agent at hand will help companies become more agile and responsive to unexpected events and rapidly changing customer demands.”
Epicor EVA focuses on several industry-specific use cases:
- Distribution. EVA’s conversational user interface (UI) allows sales representatives to have easy access to product price and availability information with the ability to create a quote on a mobile device while on the road (e.g. meeting with a customer).
- Manufacturing. Data from machine sensors and IoT devices is used by EVA to detect and alert on anomalies early to proactively prevent unplanned downtime or degradation in product quality. EVA suggests preventive maintenance to production managers and facilitates shifting production to other available capacities.
- Retail. AI-powered engine (based on market analysis) makes cross-sell and up-sell recommendations in real time to help a customer make a purchase decision.
- Automotive Aftermarket. EVA is able to predict and notify an auto parts distributor of which parts need higher stock levels for selected regions, based on AI evaluation of vehicle registrations and parts failure trends, and hence demand forecast.
AI capabilities are becoming a distinguishing factor among ERP players. While we mostly hear about “big shots” like SAP, Oracle, and Infor ramping up their AI or machine learning based on ERP capabilities, smaller players are actively entering this space too.
Source: Enterprise Resource Planning at SoftwareReviews.com
Considering that any given ERP implementation is expected to last up to 15 years, even if the immediate practical application of AI seems unfeasible, the foresight baked into engagements with a vendor that invests in AI will likely pay off huge dividends within the lifespan of that ERP. And this should not be an afterthought even for an SMB.
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