Thunderhead develops Context Engine to improve relevance of customer communications

10 September 2008

Thunderhead, the enterprise communications company, has announced the release of the NOW Context Engine, a new core component of Thunderhead NOW 4.0 platform. The NOW Context Engine is a highly scalable, XML repository designed to archive document and correspondence content as it is processed by the NOW platform to produce highly personalised, multi-channel customer communications.

Thunderhead’s Context Engine is a critical new component that will improve both the context and relevancy of customer communications generated by the NOW platform. The XML data captured by the Context Engine represents a complete history of the Thunderhead-generated customer communications, including embedded promotions, offers and other marketing-related content. With the NOW Context Engine, this historical information can be used to dynamically shape the content of future customer communications, ensuring that each document or correspondence is highly relevant and builds on previous communications. The new module will also integrate directly with existing customer information systems, enabling Thunderhead clients to have a complete view of critical customer data and optimise their investments in existing CRM technologies.

The NOW Context Engine will also form the core of Thunderhead’s new analytic and management information functionality. Communication data stored in the Context Engine will be available to various analytical tools, including Thunderhead’s Analyse NOW components, to provide critical management insight into enterprise communications and the processes that produce them.

The NOW Context Engine is a milestone release for Thunderhead and represents a strategic departure from other document generation technologies.

“Traditionally, document generation vendors have focused on speed and scalability in attempting to meet the needs of larger enterprise organisations,’” said Thunderhead CEO Glen Manchester. “However, today’s enterprises have moved beyond simple output management and are seeking broader, more strategic solutions that enable contextual, multi-channel customer engagement.”

“Our NOW Context Engine will make it possible for Thunderhead clients to truly understand the outcomes of their various communications and their impact on key strategic issues such as the customer experience and retention. And this is where our customers will see dramatic return on investment with our technology, well beyond the efficiency gains we also provide. Thunderhead really is the first solution in our market to ‘close the communication loop’ with customers.”

Gartner Research Vice President Toby Bell commented, “The document composition market has moved beyond output management. Many organisations are now beginning to view personalised, multi-channel customer communications as critical to achieving strategic outcomes like improved customer engagement and loyalty. Companies that leverage document composition technologies can achieve immediate cost savings and process efficiencies as well as longer-term revenue gains through superior customer service and engagement.”

Thunderhead also announced that it had entered into a strategic OEM agreement with IBM to deeply embed its DB2 pureXML solution in the NOW Context Engine. Thunderhead, as an XML-based technology, processes information in its native XML format, making the DB2 pureXML database an ideal complement for Thunderhead and a natural foundation for the NOW Context Engine.

“Thunderhead has pioneered the use of open standards and XML to produce multi-channel, customer communications for the enterprise,” said Rob Thomas, Vice President of Business Development, IBM Information Management. “Its selection of DB2 pureXML as its platform of choice for the NOW Context Engine will provide an advanced XML-based solution that will effectively scale to the needs of Thunderhead’s largest customers. The Thunderhead Context Engine, combined with our embedded IBM technology, is a unique offering in the document generation market.”

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