Wednesday, 26 September 2018 11:19

Infor Coleman Digital Assistant goes live


Business software vendor Infor has announced the general availability of the Infor Coleman Digital Assistant.

The Coleman Digital Assistant is designed to provide natural language access to Infor CloudSuite, improving user productivity.

Features include custom skill building, voice user experience and navigation, and natural language processing extensibility.

Infor Coleman product director Rick Rider said: "According to research from McKinsey & Company, the average interaction worker spends nearly 20% of their time looking for information or tracking down colleagues for help with specific tasks.

"With the ability to quickly source data, automate repetitive processes, and help optimise workflows, Coleman can improve the work experience and help make workers more productive. This can result in significant savings for organisations."

The Infor Coleman Digital Assistant is available to Infor OS customers. Example skills are available for products including CloudSuite Distribution, CloudSuite Industrial, Infor CRM, Infor LN, Infor M3, CloudSuite Financials and Supply Management, and Infor Global Human Resources.

Integration with Amazon Alexa for Business is expected by the end of 2018.

The underlying Coleman technology was announced in 2017. Coleman Digital Assistant is the first product using the technology to reach the market.

An autumn 2019 release is planned for the Infor Coleman AI Platform for embedded machine learning models.

It will mine data and apply machine learning to help improve processes such as inventory management, transportation routing, and predictive maintenance.

The platform is designed for business users and is built on industry-specific data, so it is easier to use than other AI tooling, according to Infor.

"The Infor Coleman AI Platform can help customers better analyse their data and give them the ability to start asking questions they didn’t even know they should be asking," Rider said.

"It can automate tasks that were error-prone, which can help organisations save money by avoiding certain issues or taking advantage of specific opportunities more quickly."

Skills aren't limited to functions supported by Infor's other products, he explained, as they can be based on other systems too.

Plans include the addition of Infor Coleman Vision, which will support barcode and QR code scanning as well as image recognition. This will, for example, make it possible to re-order a product by showing it to a device's camera.

Coleman is named after NASA physicist and mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson.

According to Infor chief executive Charles Phillips, it has the potential to answer questions about what happened, why it happened, what's likely to happen next, and how to improve the situation.

While there is potential for using Coleman to build "self driving" processes, Rider suggested that this will likely be used initially in areas such as predictive maintenance, as most organisations would prefer to have a human involved in other processes.

The writer attended Inforum 2018 as a guest of the company.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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