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Tray.io Launches Merlin AI to Automate Complex Workflows Without LLM Training

Low-code automation and integration platform Tray.io today announced the launch of Merlin AI, a natural language automation feature on its platform. With Merlin AI, large language models (LLMs) can be transformed into complete business processes without exposing customer data to LLMs or mandating LLM training.

Merlin AI empowers employees and developers to construct, refine and enhance workflows without requiring IT or engineering participation, reducing integration time from weeks or months to minutes. The Tray.io platform merges the potency of adaptable, expandable automation, the provision of sophisticated business logic, and built-in generative AI capabilities to generate automated workflows.

“Merlin AI leverages OpenAI models and works seamlessly with Tray.io’s connector, workflow and API technologies, as well as other platform capabilities, to automatically translate natural language inputs — prompts or requests written in plain English — into sophisticated workflows,” Rich Waldron, cofounder and CEO at Tray.io, told VentureBeat. “Anyone can use Merlin to develop fully baked workflows to execute day-to-day tasks or retrieve information for specific business questions. It completely removes the learning curve for building automated workflows.”

The Tray.io platform’s generative AI capabilities, together with data transformation, authentication mechanisms, and backing for advanced business logic, allow users to construct comprehensive integrations with natural language processing (NLP). In addition, Merlin AI can automate intricate tasks, including aggregating or transferring data across systems, constructing automated workflows and addressing inquiries.

The company claims that the Tray platform is the first iPaaS (integration-platform-as-a-service) solution to provide generative AI capabilities accessible to all users.

“No other iPaaS on the market has native generative AI capabilities that anyone can use to securely automate complex business processes,” Alistair Russell, co-founder and CTO at Tray.io, told VentureBeat. “Unlike other applications that interface with LLMs, the operational capabilities of Merlin and the underlying Tray platform are self-contained, meaning Merlin only needs to fetch small pieces of information from the LLM on an as-needed basis during the integration building process. As a result, customer data is never exposed or sent to the LLM.”

The company said that Merlin employs a blend of GPT models, comprising GPT-3.5, GPT-4, Whisper and others, to handle distinct components of the natural language automation flow.

“Each of the models provides varying levels of capabilities, speed, and fine-tuning, which Merlin selects to ensure the best user experience,” said Russell.

Streamlining complex workflows through generative AI 

The company believes that Merlin AI’s release marks the beginning of a new age in automation, given that it eliminates IT and engineering participation requirements. This not only liberates those teams to concentrate on other imperatives, but increases the tempo of innovation.

“Merlin … increases the pace of innovation because your line-of-business teams are no longer relying on scarce technical resources,” Russell told VentureBeat. “What makes Merlin so valuable compared to LLMs alone is that it can act on the query outputs. Merlin is giving the LLM ‘brain’ a Tray ‘body,’ which can take action on the query and build the integration required to complete the business process. It does this without passing customer data back to the LLM and requires no further training to execute complex business tasks.”

Furthermore, the system operates throughout the customer’s entire software stack.

“This is very different to most GPT-related chatbot announcements that, at best, will only be able to take pre-defined actions within its application,” said Russell.

Merlin AI empowers users to automate intricate workflows in two ways. First, through conversation, Merlin can construct and refine sophisticated automation among multiple systems. For instance, by taking natural language inputs, such as a plea to append a novel data enrichment source to a lead lifecycle management process, Merlin can identify the appropriate connector from the Tray connector library, provoke the requisite authentications, execute the query, and ensure that the outcomes are properly incorporated in the process’s progression.

Second, Merlin AI can perform assignments on a user’s behalf without directly interacting with the workflows, establishing an entirely new interface for resolving business problems.

“In this case, a CMO seeking to optimize social media investments can directly query Merlin to identify the top lead sources for the largest ‘closed won’ accounts by revenue and cross-reference the results with LinkedIn followers. The CMO never needs to see the complexity of the integrations that Merlin is building on the Tray platform; they simply get the data they need to make a more informed business decision,” said Tray.io’s Waldron.

The company clarified that it does not send customer data through a third-party LLM. Instead, the LLMs are used to create workflows that can be executed within the Tray.io platform entirely, ensuring that no data is exposed or shared with the LLM.

Leveraging Open AI models to enhance iPaaS

The company explained that Merlin enhances the OpenAI LLM by acting on its output, and claims that while LLMs can provide intelligent responses to questions rapidly, they do not take any action once they have responded.

“The burden is immediately returned to the person who asked the question, and it is their responsibility to take often complex actions on the response to achieve the desired outcome. Merlin can take that response and carry out the action on the user’s behalf,” said Waldron. “With the release of Merlin, Tray.io is the first iPaaS offering with generative AI that anyone, regardless of their technical expertise, can use to automate complex workflows.”

The Tray platform incorporates contemporary technology standards, enabling LLMs to code without requiring a comprehensive understanding of the platform or any Tray connectors. This crucial capability allows any user, including the integration builder, to leverage the potential of AI. Moreover, as Merlin constitutes a fundamental aspect of the Tray platform, a product not designed in this manner would face considerable difficulties replicating this experience.

“Tray.io provides a suite of powerful automation infrastructure accessible via APIs and low-code, coupled with the fact that Merlin AI is core to the Tray platform. Merlin can tap into Tray’s wide array of automation services via APIs to carry out actions using natural language on the user’s behalf. This opens up the infinite possibilities of automation to the entire workforce,” Russell explained. “By asking Merlin AI — like you would ask a colleague — you can obtain answers at the point of decision and automate critical business tasks.”

Tray.io believes that organizations are struggling with siloed information and multiple niche SaaS apps in each department, making automation and integration more critical than ever. Traditionally, organizations have turned to modern, elastic iPaaS vendors to “glue” their systems together and ensure that their data runs smoothly with the rest of the organization.

“Embracing digital transformation has been critical in the ‘real-time’ cloud-based reality we find ourselves in today. However, this movement comes with the consequence of application and data overload,” added Waldron. “Merlin AI takes this to an entirely new level because, for the first time, these issues can be solved faster, more accurately, and by a wider variety of people within the business through a natural language interface.”

Merlin enables users to input their requests and parameters and subsequently constructs a workflow with the necessary business logic. Once completed, the low-code visual builder will display all the required steps for review and modifications.

Tackling IT bottlenecks through AI 

Waldron said that the scarcity of resources to combat the consequences of the mass adoption of cloud-based internal tooling is the biggest bottleneck in delivering critical digital initiatives.

“Merlin AI is the knight in shining armor for IT and developer teams — it provides AI support on their projects, enabling them to work faster, with greater accuracy than ever before,” he said. “In addition, a core element of the Tray platform is governance and security — which assures IT that it is safe for them to allow less technical users to leverage automation because there are established rules for application and data access that govern its use.”

According to Waldron, the new release unlocks the full potential of automation and makes building automated workflows more accessible to all employees by tapping into the power of AI through a natural language interface.

He believes that with Merlin AI, even individuals without technical expertise can build complete integrations solely using NLP, radically simplifying the automation-building process. In other words, complex integrations that span multiple applications are often necessary for requests regarding information or business processes.

“What seems simple to the requester, such as adding a new step in a company’s order-to-cash process, requires someone else, likely a developer who has a completely different set of priorities, to develop complex business logic and build and test the integration required to deliver that ‘simple’ business process change,” Waldon said. “With Tray Merlin AI, the requester can ask Merlin to do tasks in natural language, just as they would have asked the developer.”