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Abstract

The Internet-enabled connectivity has created opportunities for businesses to conduct various forms of collaborative activities. However, the findings of several surveys indicate that the deficiencies in data quality might compromise the potential benefits of joint efforts. Global data synchronization (GDS), the process of timely updating product data to maintain the data consistency among business partners, is viewed as the key to materialize the benefits of e-collaboration in the global supply chain setting. In the paper, we present the need for data synchronization, discuss the evolution of technical standards of data identification schemes, and introduce the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), the platform on which global data synchronization is substantiated. We detail the structure of GDSN and the protocols for the process of GDS. Furthermore, we discuss business and management implications of GDS, different approaches to implementing GDS, and challenges to the implementation of GDS. The emergence of GDS and GDSN presents research opportunities on issues relating to the implementation of GDS, the relationship between GDSN and EPCglobal Network, the impact of GDS on inter-organizational relationships, the network effect of global standards, and evolution of complementary standards. We discuss these research opportunities. In brief, the article covers the history, present status, and future of GDS and GDSN, as well as their potentials, benefits, and implementation issues.

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