July 11, 2017

Infor rolls out AI platform to support its applications suite

Platform, called "Coleman," named for legendary hero of NASA space program.

By DC Velocity Staff

Infor, a leading provider of cloud-based business applications, today announced the launch of "Coleman," an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for Infor's "CloudSuite" applications.

Coleman uses data mining and machine learning to improve processes to improve inventory management, transportation routing, and predictive maintenance processes, Infor said. Coleman also provides AI-driven recommendations and advice to enable users to make smarter business decisions more quickly, according to Infor.

In addition, Coleman acts as a smart AI partner to augment the user's work, Infor said. Coleman uses natural language processing and image recognition to chat, hear, talk, and recognize images that help people use technology more efficiently, New York-based Infor said.

Coleman develops a conversational relationship with the user that can be rendered in Infor Ming.le, a social collaboration platform, or a synthetic conversational user interface. User efficiency is increased as studies show humans are able to speak and hear 3-4 times as many words per minute as they can type, Infor said.

Processing the vast data stores contained in Infor CloudSuite, Colemanis able to automate search and gather functions that often occupy up to 20 percent of a user's typical workweek, Infor said.

"Infor spent many years automating processes that followed clear rules, such as accounting and manufacturing processes. We are now leveraging machine learning and our access to large amounts of data to assist users with less structured processes such as complex decisions, conversations, and predictions," Infor CEO Charles Phillips said today at the company's annual user conference in New York.

Infor said that Coleman helps optimize human work potential in four ways:
--Conversational - interactions are more efficient and natural, and offer a better user experience.
--Augmentation - serves as a partner to amplify one's work.
--Automation - manages low value tasks like repetitive tasks to enable the user to focus on more valuable work.
--Advise - provides intelligent insights to help the user make decisions.

"Coleman is so powerful because it takes the mission-critical 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 hyper-scale public cloud," said Duncan Angove, President of Infor.

Elements of Coleman are available today, Infor said. These include inventory management for healthcare, price optimization management for hospitality, and forecasting, assortment planning, and promotion management for retail. Over the next year, Infor plans to introduce Coleman to Infor CloudSuite industry suites, the company said.

The name "Coleman" was chosen to honor Katherine Coleman Johnson, a physicist and mathematician whose critical calculations helped man reach the moon. Mrs. Johnson excelled at math and science from a young age, overcoming the obstacles of segregation to become an essential figure in the U.S. Space Program. Mrs. Johnson, whose story was depicted in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures," is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and is an inspiration for generations of engineers and scientists.

In a statement, the family of Katherine Johnson said, "We are excited and honored that Infor would choose our Matriarch to help them represent innovation, analytical might, and a continued push for excellence. She symbolizes for many a beacon of resilience, a source of courage, and a promise of what's possible. For Katherine Coleman Johnson, the value is in knowledge shared, not in what is known."

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