New Report: Embracing Business Connectivity in a Global Recovery


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Companies Struggle With Integration and Coordination Across Complex Partner
Networks As Business Interdependence Increases Globally

BPM Forum and CMO Council Study Sees Need to Optimize Business Collaboration Networks as Growing Global Business Priority

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2009) — Executives worldwide are struggling with
the challenges of integration and collaboration across complex networks of
business partners and customers in a more interdependent business world,
according to a new study released today by the Business Performance
Management (BPM) Forum and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. The
study finds that 21st Century business models have become increasingly
dependent on partner networks to shape customer experiences, drive
innovation processes and deliver products and services to global markets.
Information systems and cross-company business processes, however, are
strained to keep pace.

According to key findings in the research, executives appear to be well
aware of the need for significant improvement:

. Some 68 percent of respondents indicate that business partners are
essential to their companies’ go-to-market processes, customer experience
and competitive position.

. More than half say their partner networks are becoming more global
and complex.

. Yet, only 8 percent of executives believe their companies are
highly effective in the way they integrate and optimize these business

Greater Innovation Through Closer Collaboration, sponsored by Sterling
Commerce and AT&T, is based on a survey of over 400 executives and managers
across a wide range of industries, as well as over two dozen qualitative
interviews with leading executives from global businesses including Best
Buy, United Rentals, and PepsiCo. The report can be downloaded by visiting

Even in a difficult economic environment, the vast majority of companies –
some 73 percent of respondents – are investing in programs and systems to
optimize the way they collaborate with partners. 37 percent of respondents
say their partner networks are contributing significant innovation, insight
and value to their business, further emphasizing the return from program
investment. Executives are also responding to the pressure to transform
customer experience and satisfaction as nearly 4 in 10 respondents report
that their customers are demanding greater visibility into both their supply
and distribution chains.

“Twenty-first century business models are more dependent than ever on
complex, cross-company collaboration for business innovation, product and
service delivery and customer satisfaction,” said Liz Miller, vice president
of the BPM Forum and CMO Council. “Developing and extending information
systems, business processes and corporate cultures to succeed in a global
networked economy will become increasingly critical for global businesses.”

The study underscores that information systems and cross-company business
processes, are not keeping pace with increased business interdependence to
enable companies to achieve round-the-clock collaboration, shared
innovation, improved productivity and cooperative customer handling:

* Only 6 percent of respondents say they currently have end-to-end
data and process integration across their partner networks, although 51
percent report at least some level of integration with select partners.
* Some 64 percent of respondents say they have either no ability or an
unsatisfactory ability to extend and leverage their internal systems to
selling and service partners.
* Some 75 percent say they have no ability or an unsatisfactory
ability to extend and leverage their internal systems to suppliers and
outsourced service providers.
* Only 26 percent of respondents say they are effective in sharing
customer data and insights with partners to enable innovation.

“As businesses look to improve performance and be more adaptable to market
opportunities, managing complex webs of interconnected vendors and partners
has become a business necessity,” said Joel Reed, Senior Vice President
Product Management and Marketing, Sterling Commerce. ” Those webs encompass
a company’s Business Collaboration Network, which, when optimized, can
transform what used to be called the ‘supply chain’ into a differentiating
‘value chain’ that helps increase productivity, speed time to market, and
reduced risk and cost associated with compliance.”

The study found that business network transformation holds multiple direct
benefits to customer experience, including faster time to product resolution
(55 percent), reduced cost of customer support (42 percent) and better
innovation around products and services (45 percent). Some 42 percent of
respondents say they rely heavily on suppliers and outsourced services to
meet customer needs and more than 51 percent say integration of partner
networks with the customer is important to delivering enhanced service and

The study makes it clear that outsourcing, supplier and demand chain
partnerships are contributing far more than just cost savings and
operational capacity for today’s global businesses. Executives are
concerned with improving productivity across their value chains as indicated
by at least 25 percent of respondents signaling a significant need for
improvement in supplier vendor management, global procurement and sourcing;
customer handling and support; sales and customer acquisition;
transportation and warehousing; order management and fulfillment; and
product lifecycle management.

“This research highlights the need for today’s business to have access to
systems and networking solutions that cross borders and functional barriers
to connect vendors, partners and customers.” stated Alicia Dietsch, Vice
President, Business Marketing Communications & Operations of AT&T.
“Connectivity in today’s fast-paced market breeds innovation – and new ways
to serve and engage with customers. We can’t let cost, burden and hassle be
barriers to innovation.”


About the BPM Forum

The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum is dedicated to advancing
performance accountability, process improvement, operational visibility and
compliance in global organizations. It provides support to thousands of
senior executives and practitioners representing enterprises with more than
$500 billion in combined annual revenues. The BPM Forum’s C-level members
engage in research, thought leadership, and knowledge exchange programs
around a variety of strategic issues and challenges. More information is
available at: .

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level
knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building
among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a
wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 5,000 members control
more than $125 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run
complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the
CMO Council and it’s strategic interest communities include over 12,000
global executives across 90 countries in multiple industries, segments and
markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas,
Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council’s strategic
interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales
Effectiveness (CLOSE), Marketing Supply Chain Institute, and the Forum to
Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME).

About Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, helps companies optimize
and transform their Business Collaboration Network

rk/> to accelerate revenues and reduce costs. More than 30,000 customers
worldwide use Sterling Commerce applications
integration solutions
connect, communicate and collaborate inside and outside their enterprise.
More information can be found at .

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its
subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of
AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their
offerings are the world’s most advanced IP-based business communications
services, the nation’s fastest 3G network and the best wireless coverage
worldwide, and the nation’s leading high speed Internet access and voice
services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing
and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM
organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields
as communications equipment. As part of their three-screen integration
strategy, AT&T operating companies are expanding their TV entertainment
offerings. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications
industry on FORTUNER magazine’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.
Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services
provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at .

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