AI Analytics Monitering IMage credit pixabay/sujinsInfor are set to launch one of it first major integrations for its Coleman AI engine next week. Infor Birst are embedding Coleman AI into its new Birst Smart Analytics product. The product will be launched in a webinar on January 31st although Infor has not yet issued a press release about it. Birst have started talking about the new solution through social media and have started using the hashtag #getsmartanalytics.

The new solution aims to deliver a personalised solution for business end users rather than data scientists or IT staff. The product is already in use at several customers. These may include Diane von Furstenberg as a retailer is involved in the presentation and DVF are doing an in depth Birst webinar later in the year

Making it easier for users

There is a growing trend amongst analytics companies to take the complexity out of their analytics solutions and deliver them straight to users. Salesforce has already done this with Einstein Analytics. Last year Salesforce announced that Einstein would grow a conversational interface to further power its AI backed analytics. What are Infor doing with Coleman and Birst?

It appears that the new solution is a more traditional approach with a combination of dashboards and easy to use systems that deliver insights based only on the data sets provided. This means that business users do not need to calculate the mathematical models that might deliver insights, instead the system will run its own models and highlight anomalies and trends in the data to highlight issues.

What is in Smart Analytics?

In an pre-launch interview Nicolas Rentz, Senior Product Manager at Birst described the new solution as: “Birst Smart Analytics is designed for the business user or front-line operational worker to uncover insights or drivers influencing a KPI instantly and automatically, without the effort traditionally required for this. Instead of depending on laborious tasks that require time and specialized expertise from analysts and data scientists, Birst Smart Analytics will automatically diagnose issues and recommend the right set of actions to optimize.”

Rentz explained that users are able to chose what KPI’s they wish to highlight on their dashboard. The system will then automatically drill down into the data to find what variables impact the KPI. It will then generate visualisations of how they are impacted. The human element is still required to actually make the decision on what to change. It does not yet appear that Infor has built a feedback loop into its ERP solutions.

The KPI’s can leverage governed data sets within an organisation initially. Can other data be added? Rentze explains: “Users can also blend new data sources with our networked semantic layer and apply Smart Insights on the combined data to produce smarter, more scalable and more trusted insights.”

What isn’t clear is whether that ingestion of data is performed by the end user or a more technical resource. Bringing in unclean data runs several risks. While Birst does have ingestion tools it seems unlikely that a business user would know how or have the time to use them.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

There are still many questions to ask and answer about this solution. The combination of Coleman and Birst intrigues. In delivering insights to the point of use it enables faster evidence based decision making at the front end of an organisation. This is a positive step. It brings the power of Coleman AI and Birst Analytics into the hands of the business decision makers. It should enable them to make real time decisions and potentially see the impact of those decisions quickly.

The questions include. How much Smart Analytics will cost? Whether there needs to be underlying Birst licensing? What limitations in terms of models, trends and KPI’s are displayed? Are there industry specific templates that customers can adopt? Hopefully all will become clear in the next few days. Depending upon the information either a subsequent article will be written or this one will be updated.


  1. Infor has now issued a formal press release around this launch. The announcement confirms that the early retail company adopting the solution is Specialty’s Café & Bakery. Matt Riley, Lead Data Warehouse Engineer at Specialty’s Café & Bakery commented: “With Birst Smart Insights, our business users are automatically presented with deeper, root-cause analysis without having to depend on an analyst or a data scientist. We can uncover reasons why labor costs are high this week, for example. Or, we can make smarter menu recommendations to our ecommerce customers. Birst automatically finds relationships hidden in our data and presents them to our decision makers in easy-to-understand dashboards. And because Machine Learning is built into the Birst platform, we don’t have to hire data scientists or bring in other tools such as R or Python to discover insights.”

    This is also the first of a series of releases. It promises to add further functionality including: Anomaly Detection, Natural Language Generation/Querying (NLG/NLQ), and Intelligent Alerting.


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