Images courtesy of Unit4

 

Need help filling in your time sheets, making purchases, coordinating your schedule, or even just finding the best place to eat while on a business trip?  Now there’s a bot for that. Unit4’s new ERP assistant, Wanda, is the first true enterprise digital assistant available.

Wanda is a brand new out-of-the-box ERP experience requiring no user training. This self-driving enterprise software is aimed at assisting users in prioritizing, automating, and ultimately, completing repetitive tasks in record time.

The best part? You can talk to Wanda the same way you might converse with your co-workers; through chats.  Unit4’s Wanda is built to embed into your chosen interface; including Skype, Slack, and even Facebook Messenger. Through these chats, Wanda provides a user-friendly gateway to using data housed in your Unit4 Business World On! ERP system.

 

Will Unit4’s Wanda change how we interact with ERPs?

In short, yes – Wanda is going to change the way most users interact with an ERP system. Available as a Cloud service to all Unit4 customers, Wanda is always available through your preferred chat service. Wanda can understand natural language – meaning that you can talk to Wanda how you might talk to a colleague. This helps to cut down on complexity so that you can focus on more important matters.

Additionally, over time Wanda will recognize patterns and behaviour’s in an effort to automate your routine tasks and be able to anticipate your needs. This ERP assistant becomes your interface with your ERP – complex maneuvers and tasks stay behind-the-scenes, Wanda takes care of it all.

“We strongly believe, due to the democratization of machine learning, commoditization of compute and storage – that tomorrow not only will natural language be the preferred human to computer interaction, but it will also become the predominant method of communication between computers.” says Claus Jepsen, Chief Architect, Unit4.

“Wanda is a great example of how user experiences will change. The possibilities for delivering new enterprise software experiences are exciting.”

Wanda is built on Unit4’s People Platform – benefitting from complex machine learning technology and the refined analytics of a self-driving software. The special thing about Unit4’s People Platform is that it is people-centric. While most ERPs tend to be built toward a manufacturing purpose, this ERP is meant to help people-centric organisations adapt to new opportunities, such as the way they manage HR functions.

People Platform is powered by Microsoft Azure, and with that comes utilization of Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service, or LUIS for short. This makes Wanda able to understand what you want based simply on your language.

Stephan Sieber, the CEO of Unit4, told BusinessWire: “We are delivering the most helpful ERP in the market, a self-driving assistive and conversational user experience. Microsoft’s broad consumer experience gives it an edge as a platform vendor, bringing consumerization to the enterprise and democratizing complex technology.”

Unit4 Wanda - ERP Assistant

What is self-driving software?

In the case of ERPs, self-driving software can independently make decisions and minimize human interaction. This drastically reduces the amount of human-powered work that is necessary, freeing up time in order to do accomplish more than what might usually be possible with just manpower alone. The idea is that businesses are able to stay competitive in today’s changing digital market.

According to the Unit4 whitepaper, The Self-Driving Experience: Managing the Digital Revolution, “Self-driving software delivers intelligent automation.” The ERP assistant can free workers from administrative tasks so that they can spend real time doing what they are specialized in, rather than working at tedious, or otherwise time-consuming tasks.

In addition to the ability to automate tasks, this software will be able to detect any problems and either alert the users or even correct the issue automatically, all sooner than normally able to be detected. It is predicted that this type of self-driving software is how business will be conducted throughout the Digital Revolution.

Decision-making gets easier with Wanda’s self-driving software

By analyzing real-time data patterns, and then providing recommendations based on this data. Based on analytics, predictions are made and then actions are taken, or suggested, to make the best decision.  This intelligent automation replaces redundancy – making it easier for the user to accomplish their tasks.

Wanda’s features

The Spring 2017 release of Wanda brings with it a market-leader in bot architecture which can be built onto for the future.

  • The first true enterprise digital assistant
  • Intuitive to use – no training needed
  • 24/7 access via the cloud
  • No need to download additional software – integrates with your chosen interface

“We are using our expertise in designing and deploying this state of the art technology to support people’s productivity so they can create value for themselves and their organizations,” says Sieber. “Convergence of conversational user experiences with augmented solutions that self-learn will fundamentally change how enterprise software serves people.”

Additionally, Wanda features five new assistants, including:

  • HR Assistant – Wanda’s HR assistant feature allows automated completion of human resources-related tasks such as requesting leave, checking holiday and leave balances, and viewing pay slips.
  • Purchasing Assistant – This function of the ERP assistant allows for finding suppliers and creating requisitions for payment and the management of approvals for purchases. As Wanda learns she will also make recommendations on the best times to buy supplies.
  • Time Assistant – Wanda’s time assistant function can create timesheets based on several sources, including GPS data.
  • Travel Assistant – This feature seems incredibly helpful for the employee on-the-go! This mode can generate requests for travel and approvals based on your previous travel patterns and preferences. The ERP assistant can also create expense claims using receipt recognition. Over time, Wanda will learn patterns and preferences, and be able to create a travel itinerary personalized for you.
  • Approval Assistant – If you are a manager who needs to approve tasks, then this feature is for you. This will send reminders and prioritize tasks by deadline.

When Alexa met Wanda

Using Alexa’s voice technologies, when combined with the Digital Assistant Wanda means that Voice-controlled intelligence systems aren’t just for the home anymore! Check out the video below from Unit4.

What Does the Future Hold for ERPs?

With bots such as Wanda changing the game toward a more artificial intelligence driven way to interact with ERPs – what will that mean for other long-standing and trusted ERP systems? What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!