Unit4 & AI: Help me, Wanda!

Dutch-based ERP vendor Unit4 continues to develop the artificial intelligence features of its business applications. The idea is to make the use of applications easier and to increase the level of automation.

Unit4 belongs to the early providers of artificial intelligence technology within business applications. For example, AI helps automate repetitive tasks inside a financial application. With Wanda, the vendor offers a digital assistant and provides a conversational interface to the business application.

We believe that digital assistants hold some potential to increase the productivity of ERP users. Besides automation, this may include easier access to ERP functions. For example, a user could invoke a procedure with their mobile phone while being on the road. Unit4’s Wanda is integrated into multiple interfaces, such as Microsoft Teams, and can be used from various devices including smartphones.

Another example was recently presented by Prevero, a provider of corporate performance management (CPM) solutions that Unit4 acquired two years ago. AI-enabled forecasting makes it easier to pick deep learning (AI) or a proper statistical method that can be applied. Also, CPM users will soon be able to use the conversational features of Wanda and ask to display revenue figures for a certain region, for example.

In our view, an even higher level of automation will be possible if the AI-enabled ERP system is able to suggest a solution for a problem within a business process it has identified by itself. The combination of artificial intelligence and business applications is the topic of a European study PAC recently published (“What AI can bring to business applications”).

Unit4 and a number of other software vendors are enhancing their applications with AI. We think that these developments will be an area of innovation for core solutions such as ERP. This comprises embedded AI features as well as tool kits that allow ERP users to design their own AI apps to augment the application.