Sterling Commerce Helps Businesses Get to the Next Level of B2B with GIS 4.0: Industry’s Most Complete B2B Suite for Multi-Enterprise Collaboration

GIS 4.0 supports corporate growth agenda by providing single software platform upon which to conduct business with globally distributed business partners

London, April 5, 2005 – Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of SBC Communications, announced today the immediate availability of the next-generation of its flagship B2B platform, Gentran Integration Suite (GIS) 4.0. GIS 4.0 will help customers get to the next level of B2B by providing the first fully integrated platform upon which to conduct business with globally distributed business partners, without the cost and complexity involved with sewing together myriad of solutions from other vendors. By contrast, GIS 4.0 offers full-featured B2B communications and management, translation, enterprise integration, business process management (BPM) and business activity monitoring (BAM) in one comprehensive suite.

With this new B2B suite, Sterling has delivered on its recently announced strategy to build software and services on its Multi-Enterprise Services Architecture (MESA). GIS 4.0 supports Sterling’s customers’ growth objectives by giving operational and business-line managers the ability to more rapidly manage multi-enterprise business processes without the common cost and complexity associated with deploying and managing multiple integration solutions.

"Most CEOs face the challenge of meeting corporate growth objectives without a platform that can extend the value of applications to the very business partners upon which this growth relies," said Sam Starr, chief executive officer of Sterling Commerce. "A new B2B paradigm has emerged in which companies need to attain deep visibility into supply chains and customer operations without the cost and complexity associated with managing multiple integration technologies - even if they arrive in the same box. GIS 4.0 is a complete, unified suite that delivers integration, security, business process management and business intelligence to partners for the visibility businesses need to grow."

Leica Microsystems, a leading manufacturer of high precision optical solutions with headquarters in Wetzlar, Germany, will utilise the suite’s capabilities to enhance operating practices through improved integration capabilities between its global factory locations and its warehouse and distributor network, and US customer-base, in order to ensure that accurate, real-time information is available across the supply chain. With GIS 4.0, Leica Microsystems plans to automate business processes, eliminate supplier delays, errors and inefficiencies, and as a result, improve visibility and efficiency though the multiple enterprises in its global partner network.

Derek Payne, Fulfillment Technology Manager for Leica Microsystems, said: "Gentran Integration Suite has delivered quantifiable business benefits for Leica and allowed us to meet our business challenge of delivering information to internal departments, external trading partners and to customers, on-time and accurately. We have increased visibility and control throughout our organisation by integrating information from different systems into a single business process, allowing the IT department to talk the language of the business. The main benefit has been the time saved in administration, logistics and services delivery. Of the 25,000 transactions we conducted in January, a whole day of administration time was shaved off many different areas of the business."

Payne continued: "With Gentran Integration Suite powering our collaboration efforts, we can integrate our business with whatever our trading partners want. The solution has taken away the technology concern about new business direction as we now have the ability to interface with different trading partners and organisations regardless of their own IT systems."

Kosin Huang, Research Analyst at The Yankee Group, added: "One of the reasons the B2B marketplace has matured so rapidly, is that enterprises require a means by which they can leverage the value of back-end applications by extending business processes to trading partners. The ability to extend business processes outside the four walls, and to continue to add business value to the relationship, enterprises need the robust Trading Partner Management capabilities of a B2B Gateway."

GIS 4.0 offers several new capabilities for establishing and managing trading partner communities.

· Community Management that automates change management across the business partner community and provides document and system tracking and reporting tools

· Federation capabilities that monitor business processes across multiple instances of Gentran Integration Suite and alert users to transaction inefficiencies and inaccuracies, enabling decision-making based on complete, up to the minute information

· A built-in Data Compliance Engine, making data synchronisation tasks intuitive across bulk data and message-oriented integration scenarios. Leveraging the Sterling Commerce TR2 hosted solution acquisition last October, users can store, validate, register and publish product item data

· Improved performance monitoring and reporting capabilities offer an out-of-the-box interface for Cognos reports, with the added ability to build custom reports on data moving through Gentran Integration Suite 4.0

· Improved calendaring and scheduling capabilities enhance both performance and control over system resources by allowing for greater flexibility in scheduling business processes and workflow engine workloads

· Business activity monitoring (BAM) and enhanced business process management (BPM) for visibility into business processes, providing the ability to take action as events occur

· Increased flexibility in security – Models and new tools to expedite diagnosis of any issues that might arise. Gentran Integration Suite 4.0 provides a range of security features including: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) service, and Single Sign On (SSO) authentication

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