Lithium Technologies Launches New Analytics Offering to Measure the Health of Customer Communities


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Lithium Technologies, the leading provider of on-demand customer community solutions for the enterprise, today announced the launch of Lithium Insights, the first and only set of analytic solutions available to accurately measure and benchmark the health of online communities. Lithium Insights includes the Community Health Index and the Lifecycle Benchmark Service enabling customers to proactively monitor six key dimensions of community health, compare their communities’ performance to benchmarks and, most importantly, receive step-by-step recommendations to help improve performance. The Community Health Index is designed as an open standard, available for use by all in the customer community industry as a common way to measure community health.

“Lithium’s strength in reporting and metrics has helped us drive success with our customer community,” said Mark Hopkins, project manager for social media at Lenovo. “Having access to the Community Health Index and Lithium’s ability to benchmark our community against peers in size, tenure, and type provides us with insights that guide and optimize our growth and help us achieve our business objectives.”

In the October 2008 Forrester Report, Metrics for Social Applications in a Downturn, Josh Bernoff wrote, “Your social application should be aimed at a specific objective. Unless you measure progress toward that objective, you have no idea whether you’re accomplishing anything valuable.”

The challenge is that with so many possible characteristics to measure, it has been unclear to community managers which metrics should be used. What is more, many community managers are unclear about how to use those metrics to determine how to improve the health of their community. With Lithium Insights, the company has pioneered the science of community measurement and has developed two separate, but complementary solutions to address these needs for community managers:

* Lithium’s Community Health Index allows businesses to easily and accurately measure the six key characteristics of a healthy community: growth, usefulness of content, level of traffic, degree of responsiveness, interactivity, and liveliness. In combination, these characteristics allow companies to quantitatively measure and compare the progress of their community initiatives in a unified way. Lithium has developed this methodology based on scientific research from hundreds of customer communities and 10 years of experience. Controlling for differences in communities’ function and focus, Lithium has identified a set of qualities that unites healthy online communities of all kinds. Lithium customers will receive their Health Index on a weekly basis along with recommendations to address opportunity areas. In addition, the methodology will be available for anyone to use to identify their own health index rating.

* The Lifecycle Benchmark Service builds on the Community Health Index and offers the ability to benchmark the success and health of an online community from the very first hours of the community launch and throughout the communities’ life. In fact, within the first 4 hours of launch, Lithium begins sending the customer reports about the health of its community that can help predict the long-term success of a community. Additionally, if supporting data indicates that a community isn’t heading in the right direction, corrective action can be taken proactively to correct course.

“Through its Benchmark Service, Lithium is taking advantage of the predictive power of the Community Health Index. By mapping a community’s health index against appropriate benchmarks, the company can point out which levers to pull to attain the desired outcomes. As a result, community managers can be more effective in their jobs, and the community as a whole will be healthier, and therefore more effective in meeting business goals,” said Matthew Lees, vice president and analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group.

Lithium Insights is part of the company’s next generation platform release which includes numerous new capabilities dedicated to customer success. The new platform includes enhancements to drive engagement such as search-engine friendly mark-up, video, rich-media capabilities, and a widget-based interface that allows for rapid tailoring to customer needs. These new innovations enable customers to react to new insights quickly and take action to meet their business objectives without the need for a large staff or IT investments.

“At a recent industry roundtable, brands, vendors, and partners agreed that it was an imperative for all of us to develop a common way to measure the health of communities,” said Lyle Fong, CEO of Lithium Technologies. “We developed the Community Health Index based on our research and experience in the industry as a way to jump start this imperative. As an open methodology that can be used by all community managers, regardless of whether they are a Lithium customer, our hope is that this is the beginning of an industry-wide discussion about a common metric and look forward to the broader community’s feedback.”

“We applaud Lithium for sharing its Community Health Index with the industry. Lithium’s massive data set and years of experience put it in a near-unique leadership role to start the dialogue on benchmarking standards,” said Lees.
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