EVA – An AI-based virtual agent for enterprise users

Global business software company Epicor Software Corporation has released Epicor Virtual Agent (EVA), an AI-based virtual agent for enterprise users, designed to help users work smarter and accelerate business-wide pace of operations.

Developed to perform tasks and recommend, predict and adjust actions within set parameters, EVA appears as a virtual assistant that users can access via text or voice. Along with cognitive skills such as text and voice, EVA transforms data into visual information, creating an intuitive experience to complete native device actions. Powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP), users can access EVA from their mobile devices, providing targeted information to help them make better, faster decisions.

Beyond the conversational request/response experience, EVA also uses artificial intelligent (AI) capabilities to proactively deliver alerts and perform targeted actions based on event combinations, market statistics, and historical data. Designed to expand and support the workforce, EVA can provide timely insights that improve accuracy, problem-sensing, and can even predict and adjust production or distribution levels in line with customer demand. Developed using Microsoft Azure’s AI services, EVA can be added to all sizes and types of Epicor ERP implementations—on-premise and cloud. This ensures that customers of any size, including SMEs, can take advantage of innovative technologies to help them grow their businesses.

Developed using Microsoft Azure’s AI services, EVA can be added to all sizes and types of Epicor ERP implementations—on-premise and cloud. This ensures that customers of any size, including SMEs, can take advantage of innovative technologies to help them grow their businesses.

“New forms of interacting with business software solutions are a key to accelerating the pace of operations and improving the exchange of data and information,” said Scott Hays, senior vice president, product marketing at Epicor. “Having an intelligent agent at hand will help companies become more agile and responsive to unexpected events and rapidly changing customer demands.”

According to Gartner, by 2022, over 50% of all people working in Industry 4.0 ecosystems will use virtual assistants or intelligent agents to interact more naturally with their environment and people. IDC predicts that, by the same year, task-level smart applications (apps) that increase human effort will represent 30% of the enterprise apps market. According to IDC, advances in unsupervised and reinforcing machine learning by 2027 will enable cognitive/AI systems that can detect and sense their environment, learn independently, and make decisions on their own or provide restraint-optimized recommendations to humans.

“With EVA, you interact naturally with your ERP system. It’s as easy as just talking or typing to a colleague. This makes the breadth and depth of the industry-specific functionality and information available inside the system directly accessible to a larger audience, boosting productivity and efficiency, and giving the company an improved return on their ERP investment,” comments Hays.

During its global user conference, Insights 2019, held in Las Vegas, Epicor showcased several industry-specific use cases for EVA.

  • Manufacturing — using EVA to detect an anomaly early on in a production machine that, if left untouched, could lead to unplanned downtime and sub-standard product quality. Data from machines and IoT sensors, combined with Epicor ERP, provides a virtual nervous system that delivers AI-driven alerts from EVA to a mobile device. With just a few clicks on the device, the production manager can confirm suggestions from EVA to schedule preventive maintenance for a machine and shift production to other available machines.
  • Distribution — enabling outside sales representatives to obtain instant and easy access to product, price, and availability information, and create a quote on a mobile device while meeting with a customer. This time-saving process is made possible by EVA’s conversational user interface (UI), based on natural language processing.
  • Retail — making cross-sell and up-sell recommendations in real-time while helping a retail customer in the aisles to make a purchase decision, thanks to an AI-powered recommendation engine based on market analysis.
  • Automotive Aftermarket — using AI to evaluate a massive dataset of vehicle registrations and parts failure trends by region, EVA is able to notify an auto parts distributor of specific parts that need an immediate increase in stock levels for selected regions due to a projected increase in demand.

EVA will be available in the latest releases on Epicor ERP and Prophet 21, scheduled for general availability in May 2019.

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