Trillium Software, a Harte-Hanks division, provides software solutions for complex data cleansing, standardization and relationship matching. "Trillium Software has evolved from a traditional batch-processing engine to one that is completely e-commerce enabled because we have consistently met the needs of the most forward-thinking people in business," explains Bob Driscoll, vice president and general manager of Trillium Software.

Serving as the foundation for everything that has been and will be accomplished at Trillium Software, those words speak volumes about the company, its products, its philosophy and its employees. Driscoll continues, "In our business, we have to constantly be looking outward, and we spend a significant amount of our time doing that. If we continue to meet the needs of the most technologically advanced companies on the face of the earth, we will continue to be successful."

Trillium Software regularly turns to its customers, many of whom are leaders in their respective industries, for advice and direction. In fact, Trillium recently surveyed about 30 of their customers ­ leaders in key market sectors such as high tech, telecommunications, manufacturing, banking, financial services, automotive and retail ­ asking them to provide input that will enable Trillium to respond effectively with customer data management solutions that meet the most critical needs of their customers. This year's questionnaire was divided into three major parts: requirements for high- performance environments, requirements for online transaction-processing environments and requirements for Web-processing environments. After evaluating the responses to the questionnaires and to follow-up phone interviews, Trillium Software formed a technology steering committee consisting of six of these key customers ­ true IT professionals who will assist Trillium in focusing future development on modules that will meet the challenges of the new millennium.

"It is an enormous challenge to stay abreast of the market. Technology is a moving target, and that's why we turn to our customers. We're smart enough to listen to them. We address our biggest challenges by addressing our customers' biggest challenges. It's constant ­ there is no moss growing on any stones at Trillium," states Driscoll.

The importance of listening to customers is a lesson learned during Trillium Software's early years. Based in Billerica, Massachusetts, Trillium Software is a division of Harte-Hanks Data Technologies. Approximately eight years ago, Richard Hochhauser, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Harte- Hanks, determined that it was important to start investments of current dollars for future revenues. Driscoll explains, "Richard is a very forward-thinking individual, and he asked for a business plan to build another leg for Harte- Hanks. He stressed that he wanted it to be different and gave us the most accomplished development team in all of Harte-Hanks, directing us to come back to see him when we had accomplished something. I had been with Harte-Hanks for about 15 years and decided that it was time for a change. I developed the business plan that received funding from Harte-Hanks to create Trillium Software. We've been very, very blessed by our corporate parent. We have an autonomy that I think is quite rare in corporate America."

"We developed, as they say, a better mousetrap to provide customer-level entity matching to customers with large customer information files. It was a better mousetrap," explains Driscoll, "but nobody wanted to touch the legacy environments that were held together with duct tape and tripping wire. As I look back, it's amazing to me how wrong I was when we started this company. That revelation immediately took us to the world of new projects. Those projects, by definition, weren't being built on legacy type environments, but were rather platform independent client/server implementations. Because of the largesse of our corporate parent, we didn't have the pressures to generate profits as quickly as one might have expected. We had the ability to make the investment and build a product that was geared toward successful projects. That is how we came up with the component product that we have today that has been very successful for us."

John Nicoli, Trillium Software's vice president of research and development, adds, "Our initial strength in terms of the depth of the product really comes from Harte-Hanks whose 30 years of experience solving complex customer data issues has been re-architected into a component- based solution that pioneered the concept of standardizing data in real time, enabling companies to verify, normalize and enhance incoming records and transactions as they occurred. We developed an easily configured solution that could be architected differently for every customer in an extremely rapid manner. We weren't building an application. We were building a set of modules that could be rearranged, used and reused in multiple ways. From the beginning, our product was designed for use in an online environment."

The world of e-business is also affecting Trillium and its products. Fortunately, Trillium is in a perfect position to address the challenges of that environment for its customers. Nicoli explains, "The impact of e-business is enormous, but everything is not going to be just e-business. It will be a mix of e-business and traditional business methods. As more data becomes available, there will be more data that needs to be conditioned and reengineered. We're perfectly aligned to solve these types of problems. We're providing our customers an enabling technology so that as they become more global, they'll be able to solve their problems."

"Our customers choose the Trillium Software System because of the way it is designed and architected. Other products may get the answers if you want to write your own code, but it takes forever and the procedure is rarely reusable Using Trillium, our customers can get accurate information and they can get it quickly," explains Nicoli.

"Another reason they choose Trillium products is our proven ability to execute," states Driscoll. "We often use the analogy that if the end user wants to buy a fish dinner, that's okay, but we're in the business of selling fishing rods. We'll sell you a fishing rod, and we'll teach you how to use it. We're selling enabling technology for them to be successful. They don't have to rely on us to do the work."

The amazing success achieved by Trillium Software is in great part a result of the quality of Trillium employees. Driscoll comments, "Because of the caliber of people that we've hired, they don't need management ­ just leadership. I believe that if we can paint a picture of where we're going, the people that we've asked to be part of this team will figure out how to get there. All Trillium employees have something in common, and that something is extraordinary commitment. In this business, you've got to be constantly changing, moving forward, or you're not enjoying yourself. We think change is good, so we reward independent thought. I'm quite proud of that."

"Currently we have 80 employees, and since the beginning of Trillium Software, we have only lost four employees ­ and one of them came back. In fact, occasionally we celebrate great successes by allowing the team to leave work early, but often we can't get them to go home. They're that dedicated. Our entire organization thrives on the ability to make our customers successful," says Nicoli.

"In order to understand Trillium," concludes Driscoll, "you have to know that this is not a one-person show. It's a terrific team. We all share the same vision and same goals. For the entire Trillium Software team, the single most important thing for us to be judged by is the success of our customers. If somebody wants to know why Trillium is a great company, I'd want them to talk to our customers. I believe it is our customers' execution of our fundamental product offering that makes us so successful. Our closeness to our customers and to their success is what really sets us apart from others in our industry."

Trillium Software System

The Trillium Software System is one of the industry's leading customer data management software products for e-business, CRM, data warehouse and ERP solutions. Trillium supports object oriented, component-based architectures such as CORBA and COM/DCOM, providing Web- enablement for both high-performance and e-transaction processing. Trillium maximizes business intelligence by providing organizations with an accurate and complete view of their customers, products and services.

The Trillium Control Center GUI is used to define, set up and control each module, providing the ability to set consistent standards for critical corporate data and to implement those standards across the enterprise.

The Trillium Conversion Workbench enables IT professionals to perform a wide range of reengineering tasks on all types of data in preparation for loading into applications that populate critical IT business initiatives.

The Parser module enables companies to disaggregate and validate complex customer data as well as embedded descriptive data into consistent identifiable data elements.

The Geocoder is designed to match a customer's database to a list of standardized postal directories (both U.S. and international) in order to validate, verify and improve address data with postal codes and address components.

The Matcher provides the "C," the "R" and the "M" in CRM. By providing a unified view of the customer from disparate sources of data residing in various locations throughout the organization, Trillium's relationship matching functionality help companies derive true business intelligence from their most valuable corporate asset ­ their customer data.

With the Trillium Software System, IT professionals are able to develop a process of customer data management that improves business intelligence and allows organizations to achieve enterprise-wide data quality.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access