The next phase of data synchronization will see more direct collaboration between the buyer and vendor, according to Symens of Rainmaker. He says the primary objectives will be to monitor sell-through and on-hand for the top items in a given category for each vendor. A simple scorecard and exception-based analysis tools should be agreed upon between the retailer and the vendor to achieve the full benefits of this model.
"As soon as item synchronization enables data pool interoperability, we will begin to see successful synchronization to other aspects like supply chain, customer relationship management and supplier relationship management," says George Taylor, director of consumer packaged good-manufacturing for Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA.
"However," Taylor notes, "this is not something that can be turned on like a switch. It will take a lot of effort internally, with retailers and standards bodies. This is a long-term process that merits continued benchmarking and investment."