The design phase in any initiative is the most important phase and the more time invested in the design will produce a higher quality product and the design of the collaboration data integration collection and storage is no different. In fact, I believe this aspect of your collaboration consumer community is highly dependent on the design and therefore should be given the greatest focus and expertise to provide a robust and flexible design that will support the long term potential needs of the community.  The community can and will change over time based on the demands of the consumer and the capabilities of the collaboration tools and technology while the data collected from the interactions and reactions of the consumer provides the historical stream for analysis and validation. 

This continuum of data and collection requires a framework that is flexible and robust to support the data and analytical requirements as they change.  As the capabilities and the requirements of the collaboration community change, the data provides the thread that supports the long term analysis and trending required for robust analytical activities.  The one thing you can count on with the consumer collaboration community is change - to the requirements, to the capabilities and to the tools that support the community.  Your data storage and design must support these changes and this is why it is so important to engage an experienced big data architect to guide the design.

Fortunately, the cloud tools and services provide a very flexible method to support your storage needs through robust and flexible storage availability through many service providers.  This provides a simple means to quickly and cost effectively increase your storage capacity as your data collection and storage requirements increase.  The cloud storage services also provide an efficient and robust means to share data across your extended network simply by providing access to the cloud for the data.  This is probably the greatest value provided by the cloud; a robust place to store data that is accessible to any device or person simply by subscribing and provided secured access to the data.  

This flexible and secured data availability via the cloud provides one of the greatest value returns through initial and even long term investment savings.  These savings will not only help to justify the effort required to develop your community, they will help to justify and reduce the investment and effort required to not only analyze the data but to share the data with your extended network for research and analysis by your extended network.  I believe this value proposition can justify your entire effort to develop and maintain the consumer community.

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?