A Sterling Idea

New site bridges EDI-Global Trading Web gap

New Orleans  April 24, 2001  SBC Communications, through its subsidiary Sterling Commerce, today announced sterlingcommerce.net, the first e-marketplace to converge established electronic data interchange (EDI) B2B trading communities with the Internet-based e-marketplaces of the Global Trading Web. The announcement was made at the eLink 2001 conference.

sterlingcommerce.net will allow businesses to utilize a single e-commerce trading network to share documents and complete transactions electronically with any other company using EDI or participating in the Global Trading Web, which is powered by Commerce One technology. The massive trading community and technology flexibility makes participation in e-commerce more attractive, particularly for suppliers, whose contribution is widely seen as a catalyst for e-marketplace liquidity.

"As a result of its heritage as an EDI supplier and the availability of its EDI-to-XML [Extensible Markup Language] translation bridge, Sterling Commerce can enable e-marketplace participation by corporations that cannot otherwise justify the cost of Web-enabling legacy systems," said Leo Lipis, senior research analyst with independent research firm IDC. "This has the potential to be a boon to e-marketplaces that participate in the Global Trading Web by increasing liquidity dramatically."

"Our connection to Sterling will enable our 30,000 corporate users and our 1,300 bank partners to reach the EDI world more efficiently than building point-to-point integrations," said Sandy Kemper, CEO and president of eScout. "We can now use XML to connect to Sterling, and easily leverage the existing EDI investments and infrastructures of our customers and their trading partners."

sterlingcommerce.net is one of the more than 150 Global Trading Web e-marketplaces, which represent tens of thousands of trading partners. Sterling's EDI-to-XML translation bridge can connect all of these participants with Sterling's EDI VAN (value-added network), which extends to more than 80 EDI networks and 300,000 trading partners.

"Sterling's translation bridge squarely addresses one of the biggest issues driving the success or failure of e-marketplaces today. Without participation from the major suppliers who are already conducting e-commerce on established EDI networks, e-marketplaces will not achieve liquidity," said Michael Murphy, vice president, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and leader of the company's global Commerce One solution team. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young has helped create and evolve e-marketplaces in many industry sectors including automotive, utilities, healthcare, and construction. "Sterling has helped lower the technology barriers  allowing suppliers across all industries to leverage their existing trading network with e-commerce activities on the Web."

"For suppliers, the business potential of e-marketplaces often has been overshadowed by technology issues," said Mark Keiffer, Sterling Commerce president and CEO. "If a supplier worked with 10 major buyers that each had a different e-commerce trading network, that supplier faced multiple technology investments and, likely, an insurmountable task in cost and complexity.

"sterlingcommerce.net helps alleviate that issue for suppliers, allowing them to conduct e-commerce with multiple buyers using private networks or e-marketplaces in the Global Trading Web, all through a single e-marketplace connection," Keiffer said. "Suppliers can cost-effectively tap into the e-marketplace opportunity, and buyers can more fully realize the benefits of their e-business investments by interacting with a larger supplier base online."

Sterling and SBC's process and network integration capabilities, which help to ensure that a customer's networks, software and processes are able to automatically share critical documents within and between companies, back the e-marketplace.