James Brown, recently appointed CEO of Smart Communications.

Smart Communications has appointed James Brown as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr. Brown brings with him considerable knowledge leading software as a service (SaaS) organizations in highly regulated industries. He founded Zinc Ahead, a provider of marketing compliance solutions within the life sciences industry, before it was acquired by the cloud-based, pharmaceutical upstart Veeva Systems in 2015.

This recent appointment follows George Wright taking over the helm as CEO of the newly independent Smart Communications, when Thunderhead spun off its customer communications management (CCM) division in 2016 to Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm. Since that time, Smart Communications, with the backing of Accel-KKR, has led the evolution of CCM solutions toward the cloud and API-based architectures. Most recently, Mr. Brown served as Entrepreneur Advisor at Accel-KKR, who was also an early investor of Zinc Ahead.

As we noted last year, Smart Communications was elevated from "Visionary" to "Leader" in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Communications Management Software. Most recently, they were named as a "Leader" in Aspire Customer Communications Services' recently launched CCM vendor evaluation tool. The company was an early adopter of cloud-based solutions, and that strategy has paid off as customers in insurance and banking, two traditionally conservative industries, embraced their SaaS model. Last month, Smart Communications announced plans to support their solutions on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure later in the year, including their flagship CCM product and SmartCORR (an online correspondence solution) for Salesforce.

The past year has seen quite a bit of growth at Smart Communications. The company appointed Dave Towers as Chief Revenue Officer, announced Smart Components, a range of tools designed to improve the experience within HTML templates, and announced plans to integrate its technology with popular voice assistants (such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home) and allow the delivery of personalized content to chatbots.

Rob Goodman is a staff writer at DOCUMENT Strategy. He covers information management, collaboration, and digital technologies. He is a communications professional who has always been intrigued by how technology shapes our world. Follow him on Twitter @rgoodman1.