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Accenture-created company to use Sterling Commerce EAI solutions
in e-marketplace projects



London, January 15, 2002 – Sterling Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC), and MarketPlug today announced they will work together to implement eFulfillment solutions for companies across Europe. Sterling Commerce and MarketPlug will provide reliable and efficient delivery of goods resulting in better customer service and repeat business for users of its eFulfillment solutions.


MarketPlug, a company launched by Accenture in 2001, offers services in the automatic information flow management arena. It will use Sterling Commerce’s EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) solutions, to provide backend integration between portals and internal systems for companies participating in e-marketplaces.



Sterling Commerce solutions allow companies to handle the information and document flow between the portal and the participating companies, integrating external applications (such as ERP applications) seamlessly and automatically, through the web, point-to-point lines, dedicated lines XML or standard formats.



This functionality is crucial to the realisation of an eFulfillment system, which is usually the weakest part of an e-business system and one of the main sources of problems for e-commerce operators. In general, operators tend to concentrate on the front-end, forgetting the problems of integrating backend systems, which can make data management more efficient.



A European eFulfillment survey conducted by Accenture revealed that whilst online purchasing continues to grow, companies still have a way to go in the actual fulfillment of orders. According to the study, 39% of orders placed failed to be completed and two thirds of the orders failed because the purchased goods were not delivered.



MarketPlug, based in Milan, helps companies in the handling of online orders and the distribution of goods. It also provides fulfillment services for eCommerce players operating in both Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business markets, which includes reverse logistics, often another key problem area for companies.


“Using Sterling Commerce EAI solutions is allowing us to aggregate a higher number of partners in a shorter time,” said Alberto Rodriguez, Chief Service Officer of MarketPlug. “It has also allowed us to differentiate our offering based on the customers’ needs, by serving both the big operators – for whom transfer rate and high volume of transactions are vital – and the smaller customers, who are at the beginning of leveraging the potential of eCommerce.”



“Thanks to lengthy experience in the eCommerce solution market, Sterling Commerce is now in a position to offer a full range of innovative products to support its customers in defining and successfully implementing their eBusiness strategies,” said Sabrina Bellodi, Southern European Marketing Manager of Sterling Commerce. “Efficient integration means that each application, customer or partner can handle business processes and easily share information in the supply chain.”

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.


- ENDS -


About MarketPlug


MarketPlug is an Accenture initiative that allows quickly activating eFulfillment processes in electronic commerce. Thanks to its operating structure and its technological infrastructure, MarketPlug can manage automatically the data exchange between all entities involved in the electronic commerce process: front-end and back-ends; Merchants; financial institutions; buyers/sellers; logistic service providers; distribution services; call centres, etc.
MarketPlug has formed partnerships with qualified operators in the area of infrastructural services related to electronic commerce (Commerce Service Provider, Logistic Service Provider, Banc Acquirer, Call Center, Web Agency) in order to fulfill the entire range of services necessary for online sales.



About Sterling Commerce


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. With more than 25 years of experience in a vast range of industries, Sterling Commerce offers the expertise, as well as the breadth of integration software and services required to facilitate, manage and support the electronic exchange of information within a business, as well as with its diverse community. More than 50,000 companies throughout the world rely upon Sterling Commerce to overcome the business and technological complexities associated with integration to decrease costs, increase profit margins, achieve faster production cycles and improve customer satisfaction.


http://www.sterlingcommerce.com





For media enquiries please contact:



Willemijn Steegenga
Sterling Commerce
Tel + 31 20 560 5794
Willemijn_Steegenga@stercomm.com


Sarah Griffiths /Terri Fellowes
Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 4400
sarah.griffiths@nelsonbostock.com

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