Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

80 VIEWPOINT Revolutionising decision-making How AI in cloud-based ERP and CRM platforms will impact decision-making processes and outcomes Systems and tools that leverage artificial intelligence are quickly becoming indispensable for business decision-makers. Nowhere is AI’s impact more profound than in cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, where AI is not merely a tool but a revolutionary way for businesses and their decision makers to interact with key business systems and applications. In cloud ERP and CRM platforms, AI can help businesses manage their operations, finances, sales engagement and customer interactions more effectively. However, a formidable challenge presents itself – the inherent inaccuracy of data within these systems. Recent analysis from Dun & Bradstreet reveals that 91 per cent of data in these systems is incomplete, 18 per cent is duplicated, and 70 per cent becomes stale annually. AI tools such as Microsoft Copilot, which utilises generative AI, could be used to incrementally correct and enrich business data through day-to-day interactions with customers. With training, AI models can use machine learning algorithms to collect and review data, and ultimately apply their learning to achieve predefined goals. However, the use of AI in decisionmaking raises some ethical questions and challenges, such as ensuring the transparency, accountability and explainability of AI algorithms and outcomes; protecting the privacy, security and consent of data subjects and users; and balancing the human and machine responsibilities in decision-making. Businesses need to adopt recommended best practices to address these ethical issues, such as the ethical principles and guidelines for AI proposed by the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Businesses should also implement governance and oversight mechanisms for AI, such as those suggested by the World Economic Forum, the Partnership on AI, and the AI Now Institute. While AI enhances decisionmaking processes, ethical frameworks stress the importance of maintaining human oversight. Establishing mechanisms for human intervention not only mitigates the risk of unintended consequences but also upholds the ethical principle that ultimate responsibility rests with humans. The undeniable benefits of AI’s increased data accuracy and speed promise to usher in new levels of real-time analytics for decision makers, transforming ERP and CRM into more dynamic and adaptive systems. Patrick Johnson is the Dynamics 365 Business Central practice manager at LBMC Technology Solutions PATRICK JOHNSON: LBMC TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS “ While AI enhances decision-making processes, ethical frameworks stress the importance of maintaining human oversight”