Resource commitment to support a consumer collaboration community is a long term commitment that requires that leadership from the retailer through the extended supply chain partners understand the long term nature of the commitment.  The resource commitment from the organization’s leaders requires a long term commitment in order to harvest the benefits.  As I have previously suggested, the greatest funding investment will be hiring the resources to support the community.  The good news though is that this investment is not required to start the community, in the startup phase current social media resources can be utilized to support the startup. 

This long term investment requirement is a large commitment and requires the care and feeding from the leadership in order to allow and encourage the community and practices to grow.  Do not underestimate the level of commitment and the timeline for the commitment, this is not a ‘one and done’ type of commitment where the leaders can say this is important and it just happens.  This will require the regular and continuous involvement of the organization leaders to demonstrate their commitment and their level of support of these activities in order to ensure the continued investment in resource time and focus continues.  As with any other new initiative, this will also require the continuous involvement, especially initially, Even as the time progresses, there is a requirement for continued involvement of the leaders to encourage expansion and growth of the community so that it does not die on the vine.

There will be many people and voices in the organization claiming this consumer community is unnecessary because of the other social networks supported by the organization.  This is a blatantly wrong headed view and must be overcome first with the commitment from leadership to support through the startup and then through the value derived from the community as it becomes an established framework and strategy in the organization. 

I am focused on this investment because I believe it is important to overcome the potential inertia the community will encounter.  It is also most important to view this as a long term investment that will require a long term commitment.  It is important to overcome the prevailing business short term focus and perspective with a long view of the potential.  I am not naive though, in order for the community to be given time to succeed it is important to define and achieve short term goals and benefits.  For this reason it is important to define and maintain a roadmap of achievement objectives and returns that can be measured.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?