Data collection and integration is one of the most important objectives and also one of the objectives providing the most long term value from the development and support of a consumer collaboration community.  Quite frankly, the data integration may also be one of the most difficult objectives to achieve because of the amount of data that is available from the community and also the potential difficulties in storing and analyzing the data.  In addition to these challenges to mining this data you must also determine how and what to share with your partners.  This challenge of storage and analysis is then compounded as it flows down your extended partner network.  The benefits gained from the data analysis can easily outway the costs of maintaining and analysis however it does require a thoughtful review and flexible design of the framework supporting the requirements. 

The key to success in the data analysis and integration with your extended partners is a flexible and robust framework upon which you build.  This will require some thoughtful analysis and design from an experienced big data architect in order to design the framework to support the current known requirements and yet be flexible enough to be able to revise and improve as your requirements change and grow.  The one thing you can count on is that your requirements will grow as you begin to realize the value from the big data analysis.  This is also one of the areas where you should not scrimp in the design efforts.  It will pay off manyfold to invest in an experienced big data architect to produce the design of the framework and the initial collection and load process design and development.  There are areas where it is safe and makes sense to scrimp and the design of your big data framework and infrastructure is certainly not one of them.

One area that will allow for savings is in the architecture and tools selection and utilization of the community.  This is where the cloud technologies and services will really provide value and the ability to experiment with little cost.  Your big data storage requirements are one of the key areas where you can gain value and save initial start-up costs.  This is where you can start with a small amount of storage and steadily add as your needs grow.  The cloud storage also provides for an efficient and low cost method to share information across your extended internal partners, you would simply grant access rights to specific data as necessary for your partners and this would eliminate complicated integration processes.

Like so many objectives in professional life there is a time and a place to save and cut costs.  The design has never been one of those areas.  While your initial objective for the consumer community is to develop a low cost community to start using cloud tools and services, it makes long term financial sense to invest in the big data initial design to ensure you start with a robust and flexible framework that will support future requirements.

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?