June 2, 2005, 12:00 AM

The worlds of retail product data come together

UCCnet, a data sharing and synchronizing service used by retailers, has agreed to merge with Transora, a data exchange service developed for major manufacturers. In addition, the WorldWide Retail Exchange and the Global NetXchange has agreed to merge.

UCCnet, a data sharing and synchronizing service used by major retailers, has agreed to merge with Transora, a data exchange service developed for major manufacturers. “By joining forces, we would make it even easier for retailers and manufacturers to establish a common approach for data synchronization that benefits all,” says Transora CEO Bob Noe, who is to become CEO of the new company.

The UCCnet/Transora merger plan followed shortly after an announced merger of the WorldWide Retail Exchange and the Global NetXchange, which together offer data synch services as well as supply chain collaboration and other services. “We now have a common vision to build a single technology platform to connect retailers and manufacturers faster and more efficiently,” says GNX CEO Joe Laughlin, who will serve as CEO of the yet-to-be-named combined company.

Data synchronization has the goal of getting retail industry trading partners to share a single version of the truth in product information. Advocates say that data synch provides more accurate and timely delivery of products and sharing of business documents, resulting in happier customers, increased sales and margins, and a drop in the cost of doing business.

The mergers should be positive for the retail industry because they bring together many of the major companies involved in working toward common data standards, says Kara Romanow, analyst at AMR Research Inc. “It’s a step in the right direction,” she says.

Further cooperation between the two new organizations could bring even more benefits to the retail industry, Romanow says, adding that GNX/WWRE could benefit from closer ties to Transora’s expertise in data synchronization. But that remains to be seen, she adds.

The UCCnet/Transora merger also raises several questions, Romanow says. For example, Transora currently offers three popular Internet-based data services-direct-to-store distribution of pricing information to retail chains, pricing promotion data, and new-item introductions-that have yet to be established with common data standards. It remains to be seen what effect Transora’s being under the UCC umbrella would have for the development of standards for those services, Romanow says.

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