This week, Infor is the latest to have announced the general availability of its digital assistant within Microsoft Teams. The integration will enable customers to access information from within their ERP systems. To do so, customers will interact with the Infor Coleman AI Digital Assistant app for Teams. The digital assistant bot was previously available via a web browser, the Infor Go mobile app, and Amazon Alexa for Business. Oddly, unlike many others, Infor has not yet added an integration.
This week Smartsheet and Workday have made similar announcements, bringing the power of their solutions into collaboration platforms. Infor’s approach is different from those two and the deeper integrations that Verto365 has.
Coleman is the Infor AI platform, and the digital assistant provides a natural language interface for joint Teams and Infor users. Existing customers will need to activate the service to connect the systems by contacting Infor Support.
What will it do?
Connected to the Infor OS, the digital assistant will interpret natural language and enable users to interact with their ERP systems. It can do this either via chat and audio and via a mobile device. What isn’t clear from the announcement is which Infor applications the assistant can interact with, what languages it can use, and the details around the features available out of the box from the Coleman Digital Assistant. At launch in 2018, Infor stated that the assistant would interact with:
- Infor CloudSuite Distribution (CSD)
- Infor CloudSuite Industrial
- Infor CRM
- Infor LN
- Infor M3
- Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management (CSF/FSM)
- Infor Global Human Resources (GHR)
The marketing information now states that it interacts with any Infor application.
Infor Coleman product director, Vignesh Subramanian said, “In the post-pandemic world, remote working and the use of collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams are ever more relevant. Enabling Coleman Digital Assistant within that ecosystem is a testimony to Infor’s commitment to be on the leading edge of technology trends.
“We are excited to offer our customers the opportunity to use the same chat platform to collaborate among colleagues and to access their business information via a secured app such as the Infor Coleman Teams App.”
Infor states that the Digital Assistant provide four benefits to users:
- Advising: It can provide intelligent insights designed to help users make decisions. Coleman interprets data questions and delivers dashboards and visualisation to answer such questions quickly.
- Augmenting: It can serve as a partner to help amplify one’s work and provide key information at critical decision points. It can pro-actively prompt relevant users if certain thresholds are exceeded, alerting users, for example, when a new stock order must be placed.
- Automating: It can complete low-value, repetitive tasks to enable users to focus on more valuable work.
- Conversing: It can offer a better user experience with more efficient interactions.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
There is little detail in this announcement, and it lacks up to date supporting collateral to understand exactly what Infor is offering to Teams users. Likely, it is the same functionality that is available within other interfaces such as the mobile app.
While the detail is missing, this announcement is worth noting. The Infor OS is a secure platform that enables organisations to create hybrid software architectures through a proven integration platform and low-code development add ons.
While its applications have gone through a modern design process, the world is moving to leverage collaboration tools such as Teams and Slack rather than switching between applications, often using email as a hub. Today, organisations are starting to expect their applications to have accessibility via their chosen interface, Slack, Teams or something else. This is a welcome first step by Infor, but what will come next?