MarketAnalysis-ExternalLecko’s Enterprise Social Networks study also looked the tools that suit external communities, usually customer-facing or for partners. I was thinking earlier that the study did not include companies like Lithium in their study but was proved wrong in this chart. While not in their deep analysis per tool later in the document, they do list them here.

Their description of the groupings:

  • A – Solutions that incorporate opening to the outside
  • B – Solutions that work on the borders of the company

They indicate that most ESNs “are a long way behind social CRM specialists (Dimelo and Lithium)”.  I’ve not watched Dimelo before (based in Paris & Munich) but it makes sense in catering to the French top 40 companies. Lithium frequently ranks as a winner in CRM Idol, the industry awards for this product category.

The big gap between the functional capabilities of these two compared to the ESN pack is so stark, it is hard to ignore. The capabilities if you interested are as follows:

  • Enable partner/customer sign-up, and supply the tools for conversation with them;
  • Differentiate between internal and external;
  • Coordinate a support community;
  • Organise competitions;
  • Discuss the organisation’s products; Monitor customer activity;
  • Send newsletters;
  • Handle social media pages;
  • Manage online visibility of the platform.

This doesn’t seem like asking for much, but I would gather the difference is in the quality and depth of the offerings.