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· Up-to-the-minute product, supply chain, fulfilment and logistics information for dealers

· Integration of global product catalogue, ordering and delivery systems

· Web-based solution runs in parallel with existing EDI system

LONDON 15 May, 2002 – Leica Microsystems manufactures optics for the global medical, research, surgical and semiconductor industries. This diversity of markets presents the company with unique challenges in keeping its catalogue and dealers up to date.

Sterling Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC Communications (NYSE:SBC), has created a dynamic link for Leica between its worldwide product catalogue and its ordering, fulfilment and delivery systems, using an integration solution from the Sterling GENTRAN suite. The solution had to be designed within the constraints of Leica’s existing EDI system and needed to run in parallel to create full migration. Sterling Commerce’s flexible solution enables Leica to negotiate technological intricacies by integrating web based ordering with its SAP Enterprise Resource Planning environment and legacy applications.

Derek Payne, Fulfilment Technology Manager at Leica said: “The challenge we faced was that a single order placed in Australia could require a number of products from factories in Switzerland, Germany and the United States. This can mean numerous faxes, phone calls and e-mails occur before a dealer representative can respond about availability and delivery. Provision of data is imperative to our business and that is why we looked to Sterling Commerce to consolidate our product catalogue and automates the placement and processing of orders via the web”.

Leica chose an integration solution from Sterling Commerce’s GENTRAN suite to overcome these challenges. The solution provides Leica with a robust information hub that controls data translation, business rules routing and the flow of messages and files throughout its multi-lingual IT network, which itself operates a range of hardware and software platforms across 12 manufacturing plants and 18 national sales operations.

Payne continued: “When serving such a geographically diverse and wide-spread community, the product catalogue must change constantly to reflect not only local customer requirements, but new developments and enhancements that must not only be available on a global basis, but be presented in a number of different languages. Sterling’s solution enables our national operations to update applications and then ensures these changes are duplicated throughout our global system. In a business environment where application data is changing constantly, this gives our dealers a competitive edge by arming them with up-to-the-minute product, supply chain, fulfilment and logistics information.

“Accurate product specifications and delivery information is vital to our customers and delivery times are not negotiable. Consequently, being early is as bad as being late. Thanks to Sterling Commerce’s integration solution, we now have the right tool to provide us with the right information and delivery dates at the touch of a button.”

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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-to-business commerce 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 tens of thousands of customers in a vast range of industries, Sterling Commerce is a recognized pioneer in business-to-business 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.

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About SBC Communications Inc. (

SBC Communications Inc. is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - SBC Southwestern Bell, SBC Ameritech, SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Nevada Bell, SBC SNET and Sterling Commerce – and world-class network, SBC and its affiliated companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, including local and long-distance, high-speed Internet access and data transport, network integration, software and process integration, Web site and application hosting, e-marketplace development, paging and messaging, as well as directory advertising and publishing. America's leading provider of high-speed DSL Internet service, SBC companies currently have 61.3 million access lines nationwide. SBC has a 60 percent equity interest in Cingular Wireless, its joint venture with BellSouth, which serves more than 20 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in 28 countries and has annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.

For media enquiries please contact:

Simone Mahedy
Sterling Commerce
Tel: +44 (0)20 8867 8000

Sarah Griffiths /Claire Smither
Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 4400

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Nelson Bostock Unlimited in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit