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Study Finds Hybrid Approach Most Cost-Effective Method For Partner Integration; Rayovac Uses Hybrid Approach to Connect with 400 Trading Partners.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers/High-Tech Writers

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 14, 2003

Sterling Commerce (NYSE:SBC)

Direct-connection software is beginning to deliver on Internet promises made in the late 1990s allowing companies to securely and reliably move mission-critical data across the Internet. Businesses benefit, however, by taking a modified approach to adopting this new technology according to a new study by the Yankee Group research and consulting firm.

The Yankee Group found that companies should avoid migrating an entire supply chain to direct communication connections. The study established that a hybrid approach of combining direct-communication technology (software at sender and receiver sites that enable secure transmissions over the Internet) and indirect-communication technology (using a third-party network service provider such as value added networks) can deliver significant savings. Among the 50 companies interviewed for this report, 87 percent reduced electronic supply chain costs by using a hybrid approach.

"Our study found that a hybrid electronic supply chain strategy delivers significant cost savings as well as a level of flexibility, which reduces time-to-market, enhances customer intimacy and ultimately, improves an enterprise's competitive position," said Jon Derome, program manager of the Yankee Group.

"The labor costs required to move and maintain low-volume trading partners on a direct-connection infrastructure like EDIINT AS2 are significantly more than the cost to support one connection through a value added network, like Sterling Information Broker," said Sam Starr, president and CEO, Sterling Commerce. "At the same time, direct communication makes sense with strategic business partners or with customers that mandate a direct connection."

Rayovac, one of the world's largest consumer battery and lighting device companies, selected Sterling Commerce solutions in a hybrid approach to handle the exchange of critical business documents with trading partners.

"Using a hybrid approach, we can continue to leverage the Sterling Information Broker network connection with more than 400 trading partners of all sizes and varying communication requirements," said Brent Leland, director of business information technology, Rayovac. "And, we plan on meeting customer and UCCnet requests for direct Internet communication with Gentran Integration Suite."

Gentran Integration Suite, a strategic integration platform sold in modular components to meet specific business needs, will help Rayovac meet EDIINT AS2 security standard mandates as well as synchronize product data with retailers and UCCnet to prevent costly errors that result when orders are based on incorrect product data.

Rayovac's customers, like Wal-Mart and other large retailers, are increasingly requiring that suppliers use the EDIINT AS2 standard in conducting e-business transactions. Rayovac, through the use of Gentran Integration Suite and Sterling Information Broker, was able to support Wal-Mart's mandate in about three weeks without changing already established business processes with other customers and suppliers.

About Rayovac

With the recent Varta consumer battery transaction, Rayovac is one of the world's largest consumer battery and lighting device companies. Rayovac and Varta products are sold in more than 115 countries. The Company also markets the number one selling rechargeable brand of battery in the U.S. and in Europe, and is the world leader in hearing aid batteries. Rayovac trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ROV symbol.

About the Yankee Group

The Yankee Group is a globally established leader in technology research and consulting services, covering communications, and IT products and services. Spanning numerous industries, the company provides strategic planning assistance, technology and market forecasting, and cross-industry analysis to support a wide range of clients on a worldwide basis with the development of their business, market, technology, and enterprise initiatives.

Now in its fourth decade, the Yankee Group has built a worldwide reputation for its accurate, reliable, and trusted research of key technology issues and the industry's only personalized one-to-one approach for client interaction. These interactive, one-to-one client relationships help the Yankee Group to fully understand its clients core business and thereby assist in the advancement of their technology initiatives. The Yankee Group relies on its time-tested interactive research methodology, including the collective experiences and best practices of hundreds of client companies analyzed on a daily basis. This reliable, results-driven research helps clients understand their target customer, technology demand, and shifting market dynamics, thereby enabling them to shape successful business strategies. The Yankee Group's research provides significant quantitative validation and support for its qualitative analysis.

Headquartered in Boston, our research and sales staffs are internationally placed with offices located in North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim. The Yankee Group maintains over 30 planning services, complete consulting capabilities, and a full calendar of technology focused conferences and seminars held around the globe.

About Sterling

Commerce Sterling Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC), is one of the world's largest providers of business integration solutions. For Global 5000 companies and their customers, suppliers and partners, Sterling Commerce software and services help maximize business performance and improve business metrics through integration of applications, external partner systems and people. With more than 25 years of experience serving more than 30,000 customers in a vast range of industries, Sterling Commerce is a recognized pioneer in electronic commerce through its longstanding expertise in EDI. Today, as customers explore new ways to improve business performance via the Internet, Sterling Commerce continues to innovate its software and services to further the global adoption of e-commerce while offering its customers strategic solutions that leverage existing technology. For more information, visit www.sterlingcommerce.com.

SBC Communications Inc. (www.sbc.com) is one of the world's leading data, voice and Internet services providers. Through its world-class networks, SBC companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, as well as directory advertising and publishing. A Fortune 30 company, America's leading provider of high- speed DSL Internet Access services, and one of the nation's leading Internet Service Providers, SBC companies currently serve 58 million access lines nationwide. In addition, SBC companies own 60 percent of America's second-largest wireless company, Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 22 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC companies have telecommunications investments in 25 countries.

SOURCE: Sterling Commerce
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 14, 2003
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