Thought Industries, the world's #1 platform for customer learning management (CLM), today announced its next-generation software platform to help companies create, publish and manage online and offline learning experiences for customers, partners and professionals. The new Customer Learning Cloud is specifically designed to meet the needs of modern sales, customer success and professional services teams, who know that organized, curated training is the key to faster product adoption and sustained customer loyalty.
The new platform, available this month, includes new features for simplified content authoring; industry-first technologies for embedded learning and curated insights via third-party software; and plans for an open architecture that will enable customers and partners to extend the Customer Learning Cloud for their own innovations.
"Today is a major milestone for Thought Industries, as we expand our horizons with new technologies and investments to grow the market for customer learning software," said Barry Kelly, CEO, Thought Industries. "We believe CLM is the next major wave of customer-centric software, which started with CRM in the 1990s, followed by Customer Success in the last decade. In a world where professionals need to continuously learn new skills and new products, industry leaders are learning that every dollar invested in customer education can accelerate onboarding, reduce churn and increase revenues."
Today's announcement is fueled by four multi-year innovation projects at Thought Industries, focused on content authoring (project Merlin), embedded learning (project Atlas), curated insights (project Pulse) and open architecture (project Helium). Each project has multiple delivery milestones, with the first delivery of Merlin available to customers in October, followed by an invite-only beta program for Atlas; initial Pulse delivery early next year; and initial delivery milestones for Helium slated for later this year.
"We have a clear vision to enable learning everywhere, so people can learn at the right moment and right place in context — whether in front of a computer, in a car, or in a bulldozer," said Todd Boes, chief product officer, Thought Industries. "Atlas and Pulse deliver on that vision by enabling customers to embed learning into third-party software applications, while curating insights from other systems to inform future learning plans. Looking ahead, the next major frontier will be opening up our architecture to expand the ecosystem for customer learning, and to empower customers to fully customize and extend our platform to meet their unique business needs"
Content Authoring (Merlin)
Learning teams often struggle to identify the optimal formats for training customers, partners and other professionals. Merlin is a set of product updates that will help companies create content more easily and effectively, from simplifying authoring workflow to optimizing content management. Future updates will include pre-defined templates, guided flows and more flexible course objects to make content authoring even more intuitive, drastically reducing the time it takes to create content.
Embedded Learning (Atlas)
Learning teams also struggle to deliver content at the right time, pace and place. Atlas is a set of product innovations that will help companies embed training content into third-party software applications, so users can learn how to use products and capabilities in context without leaving the product. Atlas provides an "in-app delivery" experience with no need to log into a separate learning portal or console. Features include customizable layouts, search, content targeting and in-app content viewing. Future updates will include re-design of the content integration experience and enhanced customization options.
Curated Insights (Pulse)
Learning teams also struggle to identify where and how their training programs need improvement. Pulse will capture data and metrics from external systems — starting with the Zendesk customer support and help desk system — so companies can continuously adapt their learning programs. Beginning early next year, for example, the Customer Learning Cloud will extract data from Zendesk to analyze the top questions and issues being raised by customers, so training teams can improve content accordingly. Future updates will curate insights from customer success, product analytics and other third-party applications, providing learning teams with a more holistic picture of customer needs.
Open Architecture (Helium)
Project Helium is a new initiative to open up the Thought Industries architecture, providing customers and partners with rich capabilities and technologies (beyond APIs) to more easily customize and extend the Customer Learning Cloud to meet unique business needs. Scheduled for delivery in stages starting later this year and throughout 2022, Helium will enable designers and developers to fully customize front-end learning experiences and content types; extend learning delivery to more devices and applications; provide flexibility in e-commerce and payment tools; integrate with virtual reality and other immersive learning technologies; and eventually share learning courses and applications via a Thought Industries marketplace.
The Customer Learning Cloud is part of a fast-growing market for customer learning software and services, giving rise to a Customer Learning Economy that Thought Industries estimates will be worth $127 billion (based on related market projections). In this new and evolving ecosystem, organizations treat customers and prospects and partners as learners (not just buyers and users), providing value at every stage of the customer journey—and reducing churn along the way. To read more about customer learning strategies and how the movement is taking shape across industries, please download our Customer Learning Economy Whitepaper.