Artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality...and ERP?

Thursday, 2 Feb, 2017   /   Soltius

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There’s rarely a dull moment in the fast-paced technology environment. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality are integral to our daily lives today.

But as these concepts and supporting technologies are being put into practice, is your ERP system capable of working with them? Unless its SAP S/4HANA, probably not.

After all, back office systems of record tend to be somewhat ponderous. Implement, optimise, get them ready for the future and then leave well enough alone is the usual approach. For good reason, too.

Except, the future is a remarkably fast-mover. It is right here, right now. We’re surrounded by AI, to the extent that it talks to us from our smartphones. The machines are learning and they are learning plenty, with intelligent recommendations to guide business decisions upon us.

Meanwhile, ‘traditional’ ERP systems were never designed for the volume and velocity of data which must be processed at lightning speed to deliver machine learning and AI.

With escalating demands for accurate, up to date information, augmented intelligence (just using Google counts as augmenting intelligence) and augmented reality can help us make sense of a world increasing in complexity.

All of that, and more, is happening and it is driven by a deluge of data the magnitude of which is difficult to grasp. It is fast-moving stuff, too, often with a short shelf life. AI, for example, is only useful with split-second response times. Nobody waits for Siri.


This is digital transformation and with it, the nature of work is changing 

Ballance Agri-Nutrients recognised the coming wave and has led the country with its SAP S/4HANA implementation. What’s changed? 

The secret sauce to S/4HANA (and this is what’s behind Ballance’s speed gains) is the in-memory platform it runs on. In other words, the database doesn’t sit on a disk somewhere, waiting to be called. It is ready for processing, immediately. It is the solution to data intensity.

This speed counts. It makes the difference. It delivers the AI insights when required (now) and analyses the environment to deliver augmentation at the point needed (now). It is at the heart of S/4HANA, and, as the culmination of SAP’s combined innovative effort, has quite a history.

Your existing ERP system is the odd one out because it is probably a decade old. When it was designed, there was no need for processing the intensity of data demanded today at the drop of a hat.

It was fit for purpose, but that has changed. The question now is whether your business is ready for the change that digital transformation is driving today.


What can SAP S/4HANA do for your business? Find out more with Soltius’ S/4HANA Insights Guide. 

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