It has been said that behind every successful man there is a powerful woman to support them.
I’d like to revise that to say that behind every successful enterprise software company there is (at least) one nagging analyst egging them to do things right. I’d like to think that I am that analyst for Lithium.
Lithium kicked off their fifth annual (if badges are to be believed, this is my third time here) LiNC customer event in San Francisco today. I am just getting started here, so will have more on what they are doing right (and wrong) and how well they communicated the message in a later post.
A large part of my relationship with Lithium revolved around my criticism of their approach to Customer Service. I have been saying for the past 2 years that their efforts and focus have been around Marketing almost exclusively to the detriment of Customer Service. Their Brand Nation marketing and branding efforts in last year’s conference and collateral were the icing on the cake – of sorts.
To be fair to them, and I have said this repeatedly before as well, they are winning deals left and right in that market. They have become, for lack of a better metaphor, the de-facto standard for communities in support.
This is a market fact. I have not seen a single deal pass my desk in the past few years that did not have Lithium as a finalist in it. And they do win a fair amount of them (although not all).
My issue is that they have become complacent, believe they are done with the product. I have been egging them, unsuccessfully, to become more innovative, bring a new model to the market and continue their leadership position instead of relying of what has been done in the past. Until now, it has fallen in deaf-ears of sorts: while Lithium continued to do a good job, they were more focused on marketing. This has played well for their competitors who have been winning more deals in the past year or so, playing to that message of indifference to the support market.
I am glad to see that is changing this year.
Their message is about both marketing and support. Case studies on stage are talking about support to a large degree, and Lyle Fong (their architect and visionary) is doing a good job of bringing support back into the limelight.
I am glad. This should pay off for them.
However, this is not about me being right (I am almost always right anyway) or them proving me wrong (been proven wrong three times in past 25. This is about Lithium claiming their place in the market one more time. We will see the reception from the market for this renewed focus.
Good for you, Lithium.