BOSTON-It takes a community to grow Internet expertise. That’s the conclusion reached by the Yankee Group, a locally based technology research firm. While the report is broad-based and refers to all B2B applications, such guidance is particularly helpful to the commercial real estate community, which has a long-standing reputation for being behind the technological learning curve.

In its newly released study, “Using Online Community as a Critical Market Intelligence Resource,” Yankee researchers assert that in all B2B uses, “Community applications are now considered requisite tools for conducting business on the Web.”

The report argues that companies correctly implementing community applications “enjoy increased customer lifetime value, cost reductions and business intelligence to help them develop better products and services. It also outlines several business models in which on-line community is present and describes how the community model is evolving based on various company needs.

According to a spokesperson for, a Chicago-based firm that provides outsourced on-line community management for corporations, the application is essentially “a virtual network for people with common interests and goals to collaborate around a project or program.” He likens the concept to an on-line annual meeting that can take place daily.

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