Radio frequency identification has become a hot concept, promising to streamline how businesses track and stock inventory.

But companies may need to rethink their software infrastructures in order to make RFID work as advertised, say analysts and technology makers.

Early resistance to RFID adoption has come from civil liberties groups, which fear that the technology could lead to unprecedented surveillance of consumers. But industry watchers and technology vendors have identified a more mundane potential problem for RFID adopters. They warn that in the rush to launch RFID projects, businesses may be overlooking a crucial element necessary to allow the technology to work smoothly: Making sure back-end databases and business applications can handle the massive amounts of information generated by RFID-enabled systems.

Data synchronization means organizing the information stored in disparate company databases–often from different vendors–to make sure those databases are speaking the same language. For instance, one might calculate shipping costs in euros while another uses dollars. Data synchronization is the hard work that these companies will have to do for themselves, especially when you talk about changing the data itself and rationalizing the data.