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Ask ChatGPT: the benefits of cloud ERP for merchants

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

As may be self-evident, here at Ten-25 we’re pretty keen on technology. We’ve been watching (and using) the rapid advances of AI in both personal and professional contexts for some time.


So we had to give ChatGPT a whirl (along with the rest of the world, it seems).


We typed in a simple question:


What are the benefits of cloud ERP systems for builders’ merchants?


And this is what it came back with:


“Cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) can provide several benefits for builders merchants, including:


  1. Scalability: Cloud ERP can be easily scaled up or down to meet changing business needs, allowing builders merchants to add or remove users and functionality as needed.

  2. Accessibility: Cloud ERP can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, enabling remote work and collaboration among employees, suppliers, and customers.

  3. Cost-effective: Cloud ERP eliminates the need for expensive hardware and IT infrastructure, and can be paid for on a subscription basis, which can be more cost-effective than traditional on-premises ERP systems.

  4. Automatic updates: Cloud ERP systems are updated automatically, ensuring that builders merchants always have the latest features and security patches.

  5. Data security: Cloud ERP providers typically have stringent security measures in place to protect data, which can provide peace of mind for builders merchants.

  6. Integration: Cloud ERP systems can easily integrate with other business applications, such as e-commerce platforms, accounting software, and CRM systems, which can improve efficiency and provide better visibility across the entire business.

  7. Business Continuity: Cloud-based ERP systems offer a high level of availability and accessibility, which can help minimize business disruptions and ensure continuity of operations in case of an emergency.


"Overall, Cloud ERP can provide builders merchants with a cost-effective, scalable, and accessible solution that can improve efficiency, security, and collaboration across the entire business.” (ChatGPT)


Our verdict?


It does the job, and is good for a concise and accurate summary. We feel it lacks a bit of character - a bit like synthetic foods, it gets the job done but it doesn't have a lot of flavour.


We only asked it a very simple, one step question and we are well aware that it is capable of muc more complex answers and multi-step reasoning. So much so in fact, that it has already been banned from multiple educational institutions as it would be too easy for essays and assignments to just be handed over to the AI.


There are also AI-detection platforms springing up to catch people trying to pass off AI-generated copy as their own, so watch out for that - we suspect search algorithms will be evolving to do exactly that too, to detect the inevitable slew of AI-generated websites and content.


But the real question is, where is the potential for merchants?


How could AI help merchants?


While it’s quite fun to play with AI and generate instant content (the quality of which is still being assessed – but there’s no denying, there’s some use there) we think there is far more potential value that merchants will be able to get from AI-powered technology in the future. The important thing to remember is that AI should really be used as a tool to help people - not as a replacement for them.

A thinking robot - can AI replace humans?

AI could definitely play a role in providing information and assistance to customers, such as when calculating the amount of a given material needed for certain jobs. For example, if you’re planning to tile your bathroom, you could simply ask it how many tiles you’d need for a certain area; or you could ask it what accessories and products you’d need, and so on. Admittedly there are already tools for that but this could be a quicker, simpler way to do it, and it could provide additional details as well to help.


Online this could be a really easy way to provide help for customers needing more information before purchasing, but even in-branch it could be used via an app, digital kiosks or handheld devices to provide enhanced information.


Potentially, it could prove very useful for intelligent, automated training materials and tutorials, or could help smaller businesses to create content for websites and blogs etc. Then there are things like driverless vehicles or drones for deliveries (less helpful when delivering a few tonnes of aggregates mind you!) and much, much more. We are only scratching the surface of the possibilities - you only have to read a handful of ChatGPT related posts on LinkedIn to realise what these platforms are capable of already.


But it’s worth noting that:


  • Anyone else typing in the same prompts could get identical content, so you can’t rely on it for originality (presumably this is accounted for, for the most part, but who knows)

  • It still needs fact-checking and verifying before you post it

  • It’s only as good as the questions you ask it, so you would still need the creativity and imagination of real people to use the tools in the best ways

  • It’s still early days for AI, relatively speaking, so its full capability isn’t yet known

  • Currently a lot of AI platforms are still in testing phases so can’t be relied upon at industrial scales

  • It can lack personality and customised perspective

  • Many people are still very skeptical about artificial intelligence so gauge the response of customers before jumping in with both feet!

  • Like any other information source, it is potentially open to being manipulated or influenced by hefty marketing budgets, political affiliations or other aspects which could compromise its impartiality. In infancy it seems very interesting... time will tell.

  • People still like the human touch, and good service is critical.


AI shouldn’t replace people – but it can help them

Young adult wearing AI headset, and a white hooded jumper.

While the copy produced by AI platforms like ChatGPT is, on the face of it, impressive, we don’t believe it is yet at a point where it can replace humans.


But it could help smaller teams to speed up content production or provide customers with quick information out of hours or online.


In fact, the potential of AI for scaling up processes and access to information is enormous - and it will be a really interesting thing to watch as it develops.


Content creation is just the tip of the iceberg.


There are probably thousands of possible applications for AI that we haven't covered yet and it's certainly in a period of rapid development. Especially when taken into consideration alongside other technologies like augmented and virutal reality (AR and VR), machine learning and the ongoing trend of the internet of things (IoT) there's a huge amount of creative potential there to be explored.


It’s always worth asking whether, just because we can do something, we should – and we don't plan on replacing anyone with a robot any time soon. But we will definitely be investigating the possibilities, and seeing where AI can help us boost efficiency and productivity in every area of the business.

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