It is an ancient post now, but I had written The Best UI is no UI. One of the most interesting things to come out of Unit4’s analyst summit last week was its vision of “self-driving” ERP, their vision of machine learning and artificial intelligence driving the user interface.
Stephan Sieber, EVP of Strategy and Operations, explains
“Like a self-driving car, self-driving ERP takes care of tasks that are better served by technology, leaving people to focus on the exceptions that need human intervention.
Self-driving ERP doesn’t ask the user to constantly enter data. It doesn’t require huge amounts of training in order for users to understand how to achieve desired outcomes. Self-driving ERP becomes an intelligent support and planning system that utilizes information from all sorts of internal and external sources including productivity tools (calendar, outlook, document systems, social tools) to drive cases,projects and initiatives and tasks. It delivers actionable insight based on what it already knows. The system will make suggestions based on company behavior, personal behavior, the weather, traffic and all other possible sources it pulls data from.”
Three things I like about Unit4’s vision
a) They are leveraging Microsoft’s machine learning advances (it’s a broader arrangement where MS Azure data centers will also provide the IaaS for Unit4’s public cloud) (click image to enlarge)
b) They have already considered several vertical scenarios for the people/services industries they are focusing on. Since the Microsoft arrangement is not exclusive, how vendors like Unit4 differentiate with it will be key
c) Not something they mentioned last week, but listening to Thomas Staven and Ton Dobbe of Unit4 discuss electronic documents in the Nordic public sector, I was reminded that in I had profiled a Swedish government customer of Agresso (now Unit4) in The New Polymath in 2010. The document exchange involved 85,000 suppliers and tens of millions of invoices. I was impressed at the digitization progress even back then. Think of the ability to train machines with that much data already digitized. Also exciting to see Unit4’s ability to take that experience to other parts of the world.
Photo Credit: Unit4