Sense and respond across your extended partner network that incorporates the demands and opportunities of both your consumer community and your extended partner network can be very complicated to manage.  This is why you must clearly define the framework that identifies trends, determines options and directs selection up front and must also focus on maintaining this framework.  The methods defined and supported in your framework are the milestones and guides for your identification and decision making process, the framework also should provide a method of tracking historical options that were identified and not selected so that your future analysis and decisions have a starting point and a potential reason for the direction.

My concept of sense and respond provides a framework to quickly analyze the environment and then come to a thoughtful decision that allows you to move forward.  It is not meant to be and should not be implemented as a reactionary process that jumps from one crisis to another, this will only lead to failure.  Instead the sense and respond framework supports a method to identify questions and challenges quickly and then, just as quickly, come to a decision that addresses at least a portion of the challenge to allow you to move forward and collect more information.  I am using the phrase sense and respond to convey a sense of urgency and speed in analysis and decisions, not to convey a sense of emergency or haphazard decisions and unfinished analysis.  I think the biggest impact of the sense and respond process that I am suggesting is the cycle time for analysis, decision, implementation, confirmation and then further analysis.  You want to identify an area that would benefit from a modification to support the identified need, quickly implement the decision and then just as quickly validate and potentially revise the decision.

One of the chief benefits of this sense and respond method is the fact that you are quickly moving forward to respond to the quickly changing environment that makes up both your consumer community and your extended partner interaction to the community.  Another major benefit is that implementing the process of quicker and more focused decisions reduces the risk of a bad decision that could set back your progress and require re-work.  The greatest enemy of your consumer community and extended partner interactions is spending a great deal of time in analysis and review and then implementing a change that does not meet the objectives and must be re-done.  You can easily implement three or four small revisions that will move you forward in the time it requires for one major revision, then if your major revision causes a negative impact you must spend another block of time to reverse the revision, re-analyze the problem in light of the new information and then re-implement the revision.  You just don’t have the time to spend on this type of re-work and the risk of issues is just too great.

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?