AI predictions for 2020 (Part 2)

January 14, 2020 | 5 minute read
Emma Hitzke
Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech
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There’s something about the start of a new decade that feels important and demands some thoughts about the future. Of course, predicting the future is a risky proposition, but several of my colleagues and friends were game for the challenge!

 In part one of this series, I focused on the key predictions for AI across the enterprise. In part two, I’m looking at the areas of artificial intelligence more specifically in human resources, finance, and supply chain.


Prediction #11: AI will improve HR inefficiencies.

Recruiting top talent is a stubborn problem and primary concern for both HR and business leaders. Too many hours are spent sorting through resumes, conducting interviews, and engaging in follow-up, often with mixed results. However, HR applications with adaptive intelligence (AI) capabilities can streamline the process, and improve candidate experience and results. AI uses machine learning to continuously refine automated recommendations within recruiting apps. “When these capabilities are embedded as part of a cloud-delivered HR application, leaders can focus on outcomes they want to achieve instead of the technical development of the capabilities,” says Gretchen Alarcon, group vice president for human capital management strategy, Oracle.


Prediction #12: AI will continue to redefine the manager’s role.

AI is already affecting how employees view their managers. In a survey last year, nearly two-thirds of workers (64%) said that they trust robots more than their managers. As AI continues to remove many administrative tasks that managers traditionally handled, that means managers will need to find other ways to help their teams. Companies will need to work with managers and their employees to understand how roles and expectations will change as AI supplements managers’ jobs.


Prediction #13: AI will help to remove HR process bias.
Unconscious bias is a pervasive problem that can be a drag on recruitment. While training and awareness campaigns can help mitigate this human trait, AI can help eliminate it. AI-powered applications can be built to overcome bias and create a fairer, more objective method of selecting and reviewing candidates. “AI can help recruiters reduce their unconscious biases during the hiring process, and I believe that in 2020 we will have HR teams much more engaged and believing in diversity with this helpful technology,” says Cammila Yochabell, founder and CEO, Jobecam.


Prediction #14: AI will make the financial “one-day close” possible.

The period close and reporting process has long been the bane of finance teams, entailing long hours and eating up days of work every month. But what if you could compress the close to one day? Your team could focus on post-close analysis and providing high-value insight to the business. It’s almost here. AI will ultimately make finance fully automated and allow data to flow from transactions to ledgers continuously, allowing such shift to happen. "I predict we will make significant progress in 2020 toward our goal of realizing a continuous close, powered by AI and machine learning. It will lead to simplification, efficiency, and questioning why we do things, and show just how powerful Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud are,” says Maria Smith, SVP, assistant global corporate controller at Oracle.


Prediction #15: Intelligence and automation will further improve finance productivity and agility.  

Our upcoming study with ESG has shown that financial errors being reduced by 37% on average thanks to AI; 61% of companies report that AI has reduced the number of person-hours needed to complete tasks due; and 65% of organizations have reduced the time needed to produce statutory reports by 1 to 2 weeks. AI is also helping organizations improve forecast accuracy by an average of 32%.

Al Marciante, senior director EPM Cloud at Oracle,  recently presented at Oracle Open World how Oracle EPM Cloud delivers features for optimizing and automating the comprehensive financial close process, covering the account reconciliation/transaction matching, financial consolidation, close calendar, tax provision/reporting, and narrative reporting business processes. Oracle Intelligent performance management focuses on advanced predictions and revealing hidden correlations to reduce the time-to-action; utilizing signal detection, root cause analysis, insight discovery, action recommendation, collaboration and intelligent narrative for true connected planning. 


Prediction #16: AI will be a game-changer for real-time pricing.

As supplies, materials, equipment, and other costs shift, companies are often challenged to determine their true costs and the optimal pricing for their products and services. When prices rise, margins may be insufficient for the company to prosper. When costs fall, companies may not understand that they have additional profit or price flexibility. AI can track price changes in real-time and help companies adapt their pricing to optimize their sales and profit potential. "Beyond robotic process automation in back-office operations and execution, the next advanced application of AI in corporate finance will be smart, real-time pricing. This will be enabled by the predictability of individualized demand and supply patterns at a low computational cost in several economic fields,” says Antoine Chulia, vice president of corporate finance at Medline Industries.


Prediction #17: AI will improve supply chain processes and minimize inefficiencies.

With AI, organizations have an “always-on” efficiency assistant. Chatbots and AI enable supply chain professionals to better monitor operations and receive proactive updates in a simple conversational user interface to reduce manual effort and improve accuracy. “IoT and AI help businesses optimize operations and prevent disruptions. They facilitate efficient route transportation and coordinate warehouse operations in advance of shipments. IoT and AI also enable predictive maintenance of production machinery to prevent downtime,” says Jon Chorley, group vice president of SCM product strategy and chief sustainability officer, Oracle.


Prediction #18: AI will make personalized and sustainable mass manufacturing a reality.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has made many promises, among them experience economy, personalized and connected mass manufacturing for businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C). AI is the core element of realizing this promise. Ubiquitous digital intelligence will permeate the company’s value chain from the spark of an idea to post-sales service contracts and customer loyalty. “New sustainable, personalized, and connected manufacturing business models for B2B and B2C will intensively use AI to make smarter autonomous production machines and processes,” says Eric Prevost, vice president for Industry 4.0 and emerging technologies at Oracle. Other benefits may include smarter operators, predictive self-maintenance, smart supply chain, more sustainable and optimized procurement, and improved customer experience.


Prediction #19: Executive buy-in and change management will continue to be key for success.

To make these predictions a reality, it’s critical to get C-suite sponsorship to support financial investment and also encourage employees to embrace and get trained on new and innovative technologies. Our upcoming study with ESG identified that organizations with strong executive understanding of AI/ML are 3.7x more likely to deploy AI initiatives.

 If you are in a finance or operations leadership position, it is incumbent upon you to get outside your comfort zone and explore how AI and other advanced technologies can improve your organization’s performance.


Prediction #20: What’s your prediction?

Do you have predictions about how AI will change our work and lives in 2020 and beyond? Share it in the comments below.

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Emma Hitzke

Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech

Emma Hitzke is passionate about how new technologies can solve real business problems and be the positive force behind societal progress. She got her first experience at Motorola (remember the smallest phone in the world, the StarTAC?). She then went on a journey working with startups and Fortune 500 companies (PwC, IBM, Intel) on software, microprocessors, wearables, IoT, and AI. She may have at some point worn three smartwatches. Since joining Oracle in 2019 as senior product marketing director for emerging tech, she has been living and breathing advanced technologies and cloud-based applications. A native from France, Emma moved to California and currently resides in San Francisco with her husband, son, and two chickens. She is still thinking about equipping their coop with IoT sensors.

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