What a difference a year makes…?

When you spend as much time as we do involved in ‘missionary’ conversations educating senior retail and consumer goods executives, it is a breath of fresh air when a research report is published which directly supports your business case.  That is why we were celebrating in November 2005 when the “2005 Shared Strategy Study: The State of Collaboration” was released as a joint project by Forrester Research, Consumer Goods Technology and RIS News.

One of the important findings of the report – 70% of retailers and 82% of manufacturers agree they suffer adverse business effects when they do not collaborate.  Based on this finding alone, one would expect a ground-swell of interest in collaborative technologies.  Right?

As we approach the one year anniversary, we can report the following based on our many, many conversations.  Only a handful of retailers are making a serious investment into collaborative technologies.  Instead, most retailers are taking a wait and see approach, or they are simply using existing EDI or worse yet, spreadsheets as a stop-gap.  Most manufacturers we talk to are suffering through the expense and difficulty of dealing with what retailers are sending to them.  Imagine getting a dozen different files each week from your customers.  And these are not small files.

The technology to collaborate effectively is pretty straight forward.  It can even be implemented in a managed service model so you don’t have to spend a lot of money up front, or hire a bunch of IT guys.  Hopefully another 12 months will see big changes.

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