Sterling Commerce Releases B-To-B Collaboration Platform Upgrade - InformationWeek

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Sterling Commerce Releases B-To-B Collaboration Platform Upgrade

Gentran Integration Suite 4.0 is built on Sterling's multienterprise services architecture and is designed to support multiple protocols, including EDI and XML.

Sterling Commerce on Monday released Gentran Integration Suite 4.0, the next generation of its business-to-business collaboration platform. Version 4.0, which includes a business-process-management layer and graphical modeling tools, is built on Sterling's multienterprise services architecture, revealed in November.

With the new services architecture, GIS 4.0 is designed to give companies the ability to collaborate with multiple trading partners in a variety of electronic protocols, including traditional EDI and XML. "A company might have eight order-management systems, and the challenge is how do they integrate them all and get a single view of an order across the enterprise," says Sam Starr, CEO of Sterling Commerce.

ViewSonic Corp., which makes monitors and mobile wireless products, is one of the first companies to test the latest features. It plans to upgrade to GIS 4.0 from GIS 3.1 within the next three months. "There was an increase by our partners to use legacy EDI and newer collaborative standards and technology such as XML and RosettaNet," says Jordan Beseiso, ViewSonic's global business-to-business integration manager. "Based on all the requests, we had to find a platform that could allow us to communicate with partners on whatever platform they wanted to communicate [on]."

Advanced data analysis provides suppliers with the means to electronically synchronize data descriptions with customers, according to Sterling. The new platform also provides integration with Oracle, SAP, and other back-office platforms. It takes about six months to bring a company's business trading partners up on the platform, Starr says.

ViewSonic has been working to tie its retailers and distributors into its warehouse operations in Columbus, Ohio, to automate electronic-ship documents and processes.

When the new version is fully deployed, after receiving an order the system will automatically generate and transmit an electronic message back to the customer with details as to an estimated shipping date and time of arrival. ViewSonic hopes to implement a completely automated order-to-cash process that's integrated with its major business partners and financial institutions by year's end, Beseiso says.

ViewSonic will offer similar collaborative options through GIS 4.0 to suppliers in the near future. Also on the supply side, Beseiso is working on a point-of-sale automation project that will tie into demand planning and forecasting.

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