They are definitely NOT Lithium employees. They work for Sony. They contracted the forum services from Lithium, but not the forum management like in the old days. Sony employees operate this forum.
If the Sony employees run into the issue, do they contact Lithium for tech support? Or do they have their own 'specialized', Sony engineers handle the stuff for forums?
I guess that would depend on the contract SONY signed with lithium. It is a given that Lithium had to train the SONY's admin/mods crew to properly & efficiently use the Lithium community platform. There should have some type of tech tech support service included in the contract. If not, then I'm pretty sure SONY would sound like every other end-user who regrets having to pay for tech support.
LTS: Lithium Tech Support. Hello. How may I help you?
SONY: Hello. My name isSONY & I think I mistakenly deleted my US PlayStation community. How can I get it back?
LTS: Hello SONY. Did you just say you deleted the PS community by mistake?
SONY: Yes. Is there a way I can get it back?
LTS: Hold on looking up your account... Looking up at your contract and the services you signed up, you opted to not include the backup/restore services.
SONY: What? Did I? What is that supposed to mean!
LTS: Sir, it basically means that it was up to you to back up your data.
LTS: Sir, please calm down
LTS: Ok, that's not nice. I don't have to take this [hangs up]
In the real world, this is about how it would go down. You train some of your local staff to do everything, but you have the Lithium tech support hotline on speed dial just in case. If you have a little problem, you solve it yourself. If you have a medium problem you break open the documentation and solve it yourself. If you have a big problem, you try to solve it yourself, probably fail, try again, probably fail again, then hope nobody notices, then decide whether or not you can live with the problem because you don't want to spend money on a high-end technical analyst.
Then if you have a really really big problem, you call Lithium tech support and try to sweet-talk them into fixing it for free. When that doesn't work, you consider switching the whole thing to Jive. After getting laughed out of the conference room, you go beg the upper management people for money to hire a trained Lithium analyst team to look at the problem and offer a real solution. Then if you negotiated badly with Lithium, you will need to go beg for some more money because the first money went toward problem isolation and identification and the new money will go toward problem resolution.