“Product data is the lifeblood of many large enterprises. For manufacturers and CPG companies, the efficiency of the product supply and distribution chain may be their one and only true differentiator,” Forrester wrote in 2009. Ten years later, it’s still true, and data synchronization is the means to connect that data outside your org to the entire ecosystem — which is why the early July announcement of Battery Ventures’ acquisition 1WorldSync has left many product content customers and vendors questioning what impact it has on GDSN and future opportunity.

What happened? At the beginning of July, the market included three companies: GS1 Germany, GS1 US, and 1WorldSync Holdings (a joint venture founded by the prior listed companies). Since then:

  • Battery Ventures, a tech investment firm, acquired 1WorldSync Holdings.
  • GS1 Germany bought 1WorldSync GmbH from 1 WorldSync Holdings.
  • Atrify is formed following GS1 Germany’s acquisition of 1WorldSync GmbH.

What’s ahead? Key questions about these moves. We’ve received the following questions from Forrester clients trying to decode the meaning and long-tail impact of these shifts in the product content market:

  1. What does it mean for 1WorldSync customers to have their solutions suddenly under one company?

Our take: 1WorldSync customers who find themselves now in a position where GS1 Germany owns their full product content solution are faced with the age-old question: Is it better to have “one throat to choke” or instead “best of breed”? We expect most customers to still prefer a two-vendor approach. The IT processes for rich content management and data synchronization are very different, and today few vendors execute well on both. For most German customers, though, the Germany-based solution monopoly, if positioned as a standard, will resonate.

  1. Will 1WorldSync customers jump ship, and if so, where could they go?

Our take: It depends (as it always does), but we do expect some customer fallout. If 1WorldSync is able to position its solutions as excelling at both synchronizing GDSN data and managing the rich content data for marketing attributes, it’s an attractive option for customers (see the “one throat to choke” comment above). However, competitors are already beginning to circle customers who may be vulnerable to jump ship. For example, both Salsify and Alkemics are polishing their GDSN capability messaging. In addition to Salsify and Alkemics, which both already cover to some degree an overlap of data pool and peer-to-peer networks, Nielsen Brandbank also has some data pool capabilities through its Global Product Exchange. (For more of an overview of the market, check out our “Now Tech: Product Information Distribution Services (PIDS), Q4 2018.”)

  1. Does this in part signify the dismantling of GDSN?

Our take: Not really. The standards body is still agreeing extensions to the standard, including price synchronization. GS1 announced release 3.1.8 of the model in May 2019 and scheduled 3.1.9 for August 10, 2019. GS1 US, GS1 Germany, Battery Ventures, and 1 WorldSync all confirmed their continued commitment to GDSN following the announcements, as well.


Forrester clients who have more questions can reach out via inquiry here.