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London, 3rd January, 2002 - B2B Integration specialist, Sterling Commerce today issued a warning to those European businesses without integration strategies – act quickly or risk being shut out of the new European marketplace.

“Businesses operating in the new euro-economy without an effective integration strategy will suffer from operational and production difficulties and risk exclusion from what will be a large and dynamic European marketplace,” said Dave Robinson, Vice-President Sales, EMEA.

“In order to remain competitive, European businesses need to integrate their back office and organisational business systems now to help them embrace the euro and realise the cost savings and business efficiencies it offers.”

Yet according to a survey of European technology executives by Forrester Research, only a third of companies have completed full back-end integration of these applications. A further third have not even begun to integrate their internal systems. And, despite growing awareness of the need to integrate these systems with those of external partners, only 12.7% of organisations worldwide rank supplier and distributor integration as their top e-Business priority for 2001, according to a survey by market research company Hurwitz Group.

“e-business integration will enable companies to be more responsive and react quickly to the changes in the economy and the resulting changes in the marketplace that the arrival of the euro will bring, which include an increase in cross-border trading,” Robinson continued.

“Integrated systems will allow companies to become ‘true players’ in the euro-economy by increasing the speed and efficiency of their business processes and removing duplication of functions across countries and between business partners. Integration will also allow them to deliver new products and services to new pan-European markets, quickly and consistently.

“Furthermore, integrated e-businesses will be able to capture and share information across their networks, to improve response time in all areas of their business, and make consistent customer information available across countries to all users to improve CRM capability.

“The business benefits of the Euro and the business benefits of completely integrated systems are one and the same – namely transparency, efficiency, cost reduction and enhanced relationships with business partners, suppliers, customers and staff.

“The launch of the Euro will open many new doors and enable better working practices across the continent for all businesses, regardless of their size. But it will only do so if the spirit of enterprise is not stifled by a lack of system-readiness for the introduction of the euro and the benefits it should be allowed to bring. The time to integrate is now,” concluded Robinson.

Sterling Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC Communications, Inc. (NYSE: SBC), is a worldwide leader in business-to-business integration - providing a wide range of integration software, business enabling and online services for Global 5000 companies and their customers, suppliers and partners.


For media enquiries please contact:
Willemijn Steegenga
Sterling Commerce
Tel + 31 20 560 5794
Willemijn_Steegenga@stercomm.com




Claire Smither/Sarah Griffiths
Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 4400
claire.smither@nelsonbostock.com



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