Ray Wang: "Lithium to play key role in shift from engagement to experience"
In the wake of the Lithium Network Conference 2012, analyst Ray Wang summarises the company’s product updates, prospects and customer progress.
Attended by over 500 customers and prospects – an increase from last year – the audience at the San Francisco-based event was “more experienced and energised”, said Wang.
Amidst social CRM case studies and named customers, the company used its annual conference to launch new products, including Lithium Response. According to Wang, the solution is aimed at increasing customer satisfaction whilst reducing costs and improving efficiency in the call centre with key features including gamification, mobile enablement and peer-to-peer support.
Wang says: “The product maximises agent efficiency via categorisation, prioritisation and queuing, and routing [and] is smart enough to guide customers to self-service by replying with relevant links to community content. Adapted for the Lithium platform, customer (sic) can expect a rigorous enterprise class solution that lives up to Lithium’s standards.”
Lithium’s Social Marketing Solution, also unveiled at the event, intends to improve engagement. New features include support for rich media interactions, ad hoc groups, streaming conversations, and a new ratings and reviews module. The offering also partners with Shoutlet to manage Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
Wang says: “What’s impressive is the new line of partnerships that align with Lithium’s core strategy. Instead of building their own content publishing platform for campaigns, Lithium takes advantage of Shoutlet ability to place various types of content easily into the conversation.”
The company also announced new APAC headquarters in Singapore. According to Wang, “Lithium needs to expand fast and put its $53M in funding to work to acquire long-term customers in expansion markets.”
Lithium also named new partnerships with Ipsos and Geoffrey Moore, agency relationships with Sapient Nitro and Acquity group and software partnerships with Shoutlet and VM Ware.
Wang says: “Lithium’s partnership and alliance program traditionally was the weakest among the major SCRM players. The addition of Ed Van Siclen, SVP of Global Alliances and BD, brings enterprise class partnerships to the Lithium’s arsenal. Software partnerships back to transactional systems such as ERP, CRM, and master data management will be key to long term success and enterprise adoption.”
Following conversational discussions at the event, the analyst offers a number of suggestions for prospects and customers. Firstly, explore the new offerings for marketing and support use cases, he says. “Social Marketing shows great improvements in features and design while response puts together a well-crafted set of design points around multichannel customer support from a social point of view.”
Secondly, he suggests prospects consider integration options to larger use cases. And finally, apply Constellation’s DEEPR framework in adoption of SCRM, he says.
The bottom line, Wang concludes, is that Lithium remains on short lists as organisations shift from transactions to engagement. He adds that despite an “understated” and “conservative” marketing approach to bold statements, customers “rave” about the solution offering. According to Wang, the listed client base and case studies also tell of the impact of their customers’ improved engagement.
“Unlike many social vendors trading on hype and consumer fluffiness, Lithium’s set of solutions and technologies start with an enterprise class design point. The evolution to engagement systems from transactional systems will usher in an era of experiential systems which apply context to deliver agility and flexibility. Should Lithium innovate at the right pace of change, then the company will play a key role in this transition and move from engagement to experience,” he concludes.