02 Sep Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Dynamics 365 Business Central
The latest market studies suggest that next year, 80% of the world’s companies will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in some of their processes. These same sources highlight that only 25% of these companies will really take advantage of this potential to decisively influence their business strategy.
The ERP sector does not remain oblivious to these advances and market demands and with the evolution of Navision / Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central, it is clear what Microsoft’s bet is.
The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in Dynamics 365 Business Central brings more than ever the advantages of this powerful technology of prediction to SMEs around the world.
What is Artificial Intelligence??
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long since emerged from science fiction stories to move to the most everyday aspects of our lives. Although it is in an initial phase of implementation, it is constantly developing and in the coming years will be the protagonist of a great revolution.
But what is Artificial Intelligence really? When we talk about AI, we mean the combination of powerful analyzes and algorithms that present us with precise analytical results, which traditionally required the intelligence of the human being.
Being the machines and computers that perform these analyzes, these models can be replicated on a large scale so that, in the end, they are able to make decisions similar to those of humans. For this purpose they take into account the behavior of the data and its evolution based on a multitude of variables and possibilities of different behaviors in the future.
Why is it a historical revolution??
The ERP sector is constantly evolving and does not remain oblivious to the technological advances that are taking place in other areas. To remain competitive, it is essential to take a step beyond what traditional ERPs offer us.
In this sense, the input of the predictions made through Artificial Intelligence with the data of our ERP has a fundamental role. It is a great qualitative leap. Before and after in the ERP sector. Why? So far, an ERP stored all the data of a company to provide a history, but did not go beyond. From now on, he not only collects all our data, but is able to interpret them and provide us with insights for the future so that we can make better informed decisions.
Betting on an ERP that does not incorporate AI, may resemble the simile of buying a car when cars went on sale. Do you want your company to stay away from this revolution?
What benefits does Artificial Intelligence bring to an ERP?
The benefits of using Artificial Intelligence integrated in an ERP are many, but the following stand out:
- Reduce the time spent on data analysis. Data and variables are analyzed by machine learning algorithms and machines. The user receives the analysis of this data almost immediately to make the decisions he deems appropriate.
- Automate and optimize the processes of our company. Therefore, it becomes the ideal complement to our ERP.
- Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s circuits and equipment through suggestions for changes based on statistical data and future predictions.
How does Dynamics 365 Business Central incorporate Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence began to incorporate timidly in Dynamics NAV 2018, basically through recognition of images and text. These functionalities helped, for example, in the registration of new products since, through a photograph, the ERP was able to recognize the characteristics that fit their description.
But with the arrival of Business Central it has gone further and Microsoft has demonstrated the clear commitment of the corporation for the integration between these technologies. Dynamics 365 Business Central incorporates artificial intelligence by Cortana Intelligence included in the same user license price. We see below how it will help us:
Late payment prediction
All financial directors know how important the effective management of collections is for the general state of a company. By extending the Prediction of late payments you can refine your collection strategy, since Business Central will predict, based on your history, which invoices are going to be paid on time and which are not.
With this information, many direct actions can be carried out. For example, if the ERP predicts that a payment will be delayed, it may be proposed to adjust the payment terms or update the payment method for that customer.
Insights & KPIs – Intelligent Cloud Insights
If you work in Business Central Cloud, you have access to an information panel with smart cloud-based scenarios. You can check the KPIs, that is, the information of main interest that is based on machine learning.
The information offered in this dashboard corresponds to analysis that would be more complicated to see only through the reports. For example, the cash flow forecast or which customers are not going to pay you bills on time.
While it is ideally automated for users who work in the cloud, if you work on-premise you can also access these insights. Ask us how.
Sales and inventory forecast
There is a thin invisible line in balance between managing costs and the attention we offer to customers. A low inventory level translates into less capital invested, although if we look at it on the other hand, the lack of stock can become bad customer service and a possible loss of sales.
The plus provided by the sales and inventory forecast extension is to predict the potential sales of a specific period by analyzing the historical data of the ERP. In this way, the person in charge can have an overview of the stock they will need. In addition, the extension facilitates the creation of replenishment requests to suppliers quickly, saving time and optimizing the circuit.
And it even goes further. If, for example, we create a new order from a supplier because we want to acquire 10 sets of forks, the Inventory and Sales Forecast extension will suggest that we also replenish sets of spoons, which we normally buy from this supplier. The extension foresees that we will run out of stock in the coming months and informs us that it is possible to order that product now.
Other advantages of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Integrations with Office 365
One of the great advantages that Dynamics 365 Business Central offers is the total and native integration with the rest of the products that make up the Microsoft suite: Office 365, PowerApps, Flow, Power BI … These tools extend and enhance the possibilities of our ERP to a level that the rest of the ERP of the market cannot reach.
What can integration with these tools do for us? For example, with Office 365 we can control a whole sales circuit without leaving our email. With Flow we can automate workflows so that the desired actions are executed automatically. And if we add the power of Machine Learning, you will learn from our data and casuistry to offer even more refined analysis.
Integrations with IoT systems
If some of your machines work with Internet of Things (IoT) systems you can provide that data to your analytics in Power BI or the reporting system you use so that you can access your machinery info in a single glance. You can detect for example if a machine has a performance drop and that an automatic alert is created for the plant supervisor. This way you will gain in agility and detect problems in advance.
Finally, it is curious to highlight the new image recognition service that Business Central incorporates. This service is possible through the Cognitive Services API and what allows us is to create apps that detect and recognize images, texts, people, etc.
The case study that Microsoft has provided to illustrate this service is that of a company that uses a drone that travels through the company’s warehouse at night and, through product recognition, updates the inventory. In this way, warehouse operators see their tasks facilitated the next day.
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