It is important to develop and document standards to which you will hold your consumer community interaction and development.  These standards insure the community of your intentions and usage of interaction.  Consumers can be very wary about providing information to a community, and this is with good reason.  The consumer community must first build the trust of its members in order to really grow, stabilize and really provide value to both the consumer community members and your organization.  The community standards, or principles, provide a framework for the interaction and the types of capabilities that will be supported. 

These standards must be incorporated and maintained as standards that change and grow as your consumer community changes and grows.   These standards become an integral practice supporting your consumer collaboration community by ensuring that your improvements and changes to the community are executed in a thoughtful manner that first brings mutually agreed improvements and second provides the framework for defining and implementing the improvements.  The continuous improvement of your consumer community is the ingredient, or practice, that will ensure the success of your community.  Without this standards practice the chances of your community failing increase dramatically.

The outward appearance to the consumer of your community must be one of flexibility in the capabilities and the connections to types of services and capabilities. This is important to provide the community members access to the tools and capabilities in the community to provide a strong incentive to remain in the community and return to the community.  This open structure gives the consumer the ability to build relationships across the community with other community members.  These open and flexible standards require a solid foundational framework to support these objectives.  This solid framework requires requires a solid framework of process, procedures and continuous improvement for support of this open and flexible framework. 

A second reason for the importance of the standards is the utilization of open cloud services and tools to support the community.  This makes it critically important to utilize a solid framework to provide the stability and foundation for implementing and maintaining the cloud tools and services that support the community.  Your framework provides and supports the methods to integrate and maintain the cloud tools and services into your community to help to ensure the ability to integrate and use these tools in a stable and flexible community.  This is an important aspect of the success of the community - the stability of the community environment.

Your consumer community requires the appearance of simplicity and openness in order to retain consumers’ participation.  This appearance of simplicity will require a great deal of planning and coordination across your organization and your partner organizations in order to maintain.  The cloud tools and services can support the execution of this strategy, however you must implement these tools into a framework that provides the ability to support the planning and coordination.

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?