CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 22, 2018
Forward Thinking

Artificial intelligence platform uses natural language, image recognition

Infor's Coleman AI platform, named for pioneering mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson, lets users develop a "conversational interface" for supply chain analysis and decision making.

Infor, a provider of business applications built for the cloud, has announced the availability of Coleman, an industry-specific artificial intelligence (AI) platform for Infor's CloudSuite applications. The company made the announcement at its annual Inforum user conference in New York.

Operating below an application's surface, Coleman mines large amounts of data and uses machine learning to improve processes such as inventory management, transportation routing, and predictive maintenance, according to Infor. Coleman also provides AI-driven recommendations and advice to assist users with less structured processes such as complex decisions, conversations, and predictions, the company said.

Coleman uses natural language processing and image recognition to chat, hear, talk, and recognize images to help people use technology more efficiently, the company said. It develops a conversational relationship with the user, which can be rendered in Infor's Ming.le social collaboration platform or in a synthetic conversational user interface. Examples of supply chain-related questions and instructions a user could communicate include: "Coleman, what is the accounts receivable balance for ACME Corp.?" "Coleman, what's the next best offer for this customer?" and "Coleman, create a requisition for item 4321."

Coleman also automates data search and gather functions by processing the vast amount of data in Infor CloudSuite. In addition, the platform takes business data from Infor CloudSuite, coupled with the supplier, logistics, and finance data from the GT Nexus Commerce Network, and analyzes it with the computing power of a hyperscale public cloud, said Duncan Angove, President of Infor, in a statement.

According to Infor, these features and capabilities significantly increase productivity by making users' interactions with the technology more efficient and natural; augmenting the amount of work a user can complete; managing low-value tasks to enable the user to focus on more valuable work; and providing intelligent insights to help the user make decisions.

Elements of Coleman such as predictive inventory management for health care, price optimization management for hospitality, and forecasting, assortment planning, and promotion management for retail, are available today. Over the next year Infor is expected to introduce Coleman to its CloudSuite industry suites.

"Coleman" honors STEM pioneer
The name "Coleman" was chosen to honor Katherine Coleman Johnson, a physicist and mathematician whose critical calculations helped humans reach the moon. Johnson excelled at math and science from a young age, overcoming the obstacles of segregation to become an essential figure in the United States Space Program. Johnson, whose story was depicted in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures," is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has inspired generations of engineers and scientists, Infor said. Click here to watch Infor's video tribute to Katherine Coleman Johnson.

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