CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 23, 2018
Forward Thinking

Infor to offer Coleman AI platform through Amazon Alexa

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Digital Assistant product supports conversational interface to offer insights, automate tasks, firm says.

Business software vendor Infor today said it has made its Coleman artificial intelligence (AI) software product available to users through verbal interfaces, and will soon support a connection through Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa digital assistant.

Offering a conversational portal to Coleman AI can maximize human workers' potential by enabling natural language extensibility and access to Infor's CloudSuite family of human capital management (HCM) solutions, the company said at its Inforum user conference in Washington, D.C. this week.

Known as the Infor Coleman Digital Assistant, the product offers custom building of skills (the term for AI-powered apps), a voice user experience (UX) and navigation, and natural language processing (NLP) extensibility. As a digital assistant, Coleman uses a conversational user interface to chat, hear, talk, and—in the future—to analyze images, the company said.

Together, those capabilities can provide four productivity tools for users, Infor said: advising them with intelligent insights, augmenting people's work with key information at critical decision points, automating repetitive tasks, and conversing to enable more efficient interactions.

The Infor Coleman Digital Assistant is expected to be integrated with Amazon Alexa for Business - which provides tools to manage Alexa devices, enroll users, and configure skills with added security across those devices - by the end of 2018. Supplementing it with image recognition capabilities will also let the platform handle barcode and QR code scanning and custom image training when Infor Coleman Vision is expected to launch in Spring 2019, the firm said.

The company also said it plans to add a version of its AI for embedded machine learning models, scheduled to launch in the Spring of 2019. This Infor Coleman AI Platform will be a platform that operates below an application's surface, mining data and using analytical tools to help improve processes such as inventory management, transportation routing, and predictive maintenance.

"The Infor Coleman AI Platform can help customers better analyze their data and give them the ability to start asking questions they didn't even know they should be asking," Rick Rider, the Infor Coleman product director, said in a statement. "It can automate tasks that were error-prone, which can help organizations save money by avoiding certain issues or taking advantage of specific opportunities more quickly."

The announcement was Infor's second rollout of expanded capabilities of its Coleman AI platform today, following its launch of a supply chain visibility and artificial intelligence software product called Infor Control Center that it said can help users make their supply chains become self-orchestrated in most of their daily decisions.

Ben Ames is Editor at Large and a Senior Editor at Supply Chain Quarterly’s sister publication, DC Velocity.

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