Data collected from the consumer community provides a vast reserve for analysis of trends and consumer desires across your extended partner network that can and probably will be disruptive to the current consumer trends and desires analysis practices.   Both focus groups and surveys have a critical failure point inherent in their architecture and that is the questions that are asked, asking the wrong questions can provide bad results that result in poor decisions and strategy.  These issues then have a tendency to snowball and feed on themselves resulting in additional poor decisions.  On top of it all, these types of analysis can be very costly and time consuming. 

The data and collaboration pipeline must be defined and configured as a two way feed; the data from the consumer community will feed the data store to provide the basis and data for the analysis and then the network partners utilizing the data in their analyses must have a means to request additional types of data.  This is the means to increase the value of the data, quite simply the feedback and revise loop in another example of a continuous improvement loop in this process.  This continuous improvement loop provides the framework required to improve and increase the value of both the community and the data provided by this community.

The key challenge that I see to this continuous improvement loop is the methods used to obtain new data requested by the extended network.  This requires a little bit of imagination in order to gather the intelligence and data in a manner that results in honest feedback and not just posting a survey on the community.  For instance, if you are interested in the perception of quality and usage of the product you could start with consumer purchase ratings and then add to that the option for a potential consumer to submit questions to the people that purchased the product or even the community at large.  You can see that it requires some imagination to develop an unobtrusive method to collect the data that provides value to both the community members and then it requires a combination of imagination and intelligence to collect and analyze the data.

The care and feeding maintenance of both the community and the extended partner use of the data derived from the community requires a continuous focus in order to maintain the value.  For one thing, the community members require the focus to provide new and fresh content and capabilities or they will simply walk away from the community.  The community support must take into account the objectives from their extended partners as one type of input for new content and services.  This provides a great basis for these new services and you can be sure that the extended partners will actively participate in developing these new services and content when they begin to see a return on value.

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?