Almost half of European IT managers admit that a lack of IT process integration limits their ability to compete

At the Gartner Application Integration and Web Services Summit, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc. subsidiary has announced the results of a European survey of 374 IT managers in the UK, France and Germany.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, found that almost half (44%) of IT managers believe that a lack of IT process integration is limiting their businesses ability to compete at a global level.

Despite the fact that almost three quarters (73%) of European IT managers face a more complex global supply chain than they did three years ago, the survey suggests that many companies are struggling to address the integration challenges of globalised business. A third of IT managers surveyed stated that their company operates separate IT systems for each internal business unit or division. Despite this reliance upon separate systems over a quarter of IT managers have not integrated effective process integration across the internal IT systems of their companys global operations, regional offices and various lines of business.

The survey also revealed that many businesses are also struggling to integrate the IT systems of external supply chain partners. More than a third (38%) of IT managers believe that their companies have not yet implemented effective process integration with external suppliers, customers and trading partners.

Chris Hayes, senior product marketing manager for Sterling Commerce, said:

This survey shows that a large number of European businesses are still struggling to take control of internal and external IT process integration, to the extent that it is limiting their ability to compete. The integration challenges revealed by this survey reflect companies desire to continue to leverage the value of their existing IT systems, but this needs to be done in a manner which delivers the adaptability necessary to handle ongoing business change and future business growth. To deliver this flexibility across heterogeneous IT systems and gain maximum return on their IT assets, many companies are turning to a Service Oriented Architecture approach. Indeed Gartner projects that through 2008, more than 70% of the services in an organization's portfolio will be derived from existing assets1.

Chris Hayes continued:

Too many organisations think that an SOA approach requires a revolutionary deployment of yet another new set of standards and protocols, but in fact SOA is an architecture which can and should encompass and utilise existing systems and technologies. It is only by deploying SOA which builds on and extends these existing systems and technologies, such as B2B and EDI, that businesses can make full use of their IT assets and deliver flexible IT systems that truly support current - and future - business needs.


(1) Key Issues for Application Integration, by Jess Thompson and Paolo Malinverno, Gartner, Inc., 5 February 2007

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted on behalf of Sterling Commerce by Vanson Bourne OmniBoss in April 2007. The independent survey was conducted online by questioning 374 IT managers in the UK, France and Germany.

About Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), helps 80 percent of the FORTUNE? 500 thrive in a global economy by solving complex business process challenges. The companys innovative software and services integrate customers systems ? inside and outside the four walls of the enterprise ? so companies can conduct business without borders. Sterling Commerce solutions help customers adopt best practices in e-sales, supply chain execution, payment processing and business-to-business integration.  The solutions also give executives and front-line managers greater visibility inside and outside the enterprise in order to improve profitability, reduce costs and minimize risk. Sterling Commerce enables businesses to innovate key processes in real time, while continuing to deploy ERP or transaction system infrastructures. With more than 30,000 customers worldwide, Sterling Commerce has unparalleled experience in retail, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, financial services, supply chain, logistics, and telecommunications.

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