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.