A successful and continuous sense and respond process requires a robust and flexible framework that supports and guides the sense and respond cycle.  This framework is so important that you cannot afford to wait on a design or produce a ‘final’ design of the framework.  You must understand and take into account in your actions that the framework itself must be managed and maintained as a continuous improvement exercise in order to ensure the continued flexibility that supports the process and brings value to all partners.  As I see this, one of the key factors in all activities related to the consumer community and the relationship to your extended partners is this concept of flexibility and continuous evaluation and revision. 

We have passed the point where an organization can afford to take a long period of time to analyze and develop an all encompassing solution.  We are in an age now where the analysis, decision and implementation cycle must be crashed in order to support the changing demands of the business.  In order to crash the process you cannot just say that you will do things faster, in order to speed the cycle you must improve the analysis and then do less things in a more iterative cycle.  This is where the sense and respond framework comes into play; quite simply this framework must guide the improved analysis cycle and then consume that into a decision and delivery process that delivers a quick turnaround. 

The improved analysis can be delivered through utilization of big data collection and analysis process that supports a robust and flexible process.  The improved decision and delivery process, though, must be defined and implemented based on partners and the needs and capabilities of the community.  It must also be defined and maintained as a flexible structure that can flex as necessary to support demands as they are identified.  In other words the decision and delivery function of the framework also requires a robust continuous improvement process to guide the modifications required to improve the framework.  You must take to heart a mantra that what I did yesterday will not be enough for tomorrow.

The greatest method to ensure the continuous improvement process is actually part of the name, ‘process’.  Process provides a guide and you will find over and over that great things will come from the process if you only follow the process.  In my experience I have found over and over when a failure occurs the greatest factor feeding into and even driving the failure is when the execution of the process breaks down.  What I am recommending is that you start with something that is simple and build on the foundation as you define 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?