IDEA, Arlington, Va., has formed a strategic relationship with Sterling Commerce, an AT&T company. Under terms of the agreement, IDEA will offer B2B on-demand services from the Sterling Collaboration Network, the company's hosted service that provides secure connectivity and collaboration between businesses. In addition, IDEA will begin integrating Sterling Commerce services into its current suite of products to deliver a broader array of solutions to its customers, specifically in the electrical industry supply chain.

“Our customers' feedback drove this decision,” said Bob Gaylord, president and CEO, IDEA. “We want e-commerce to be easy and being able to incorporate new methodologies and services into our current platform is a giant leap forward. The intent is to allow our customers to achieve the maximum benefit from our products and to supply them with a viable data synchronization platform.”

“IDEA is helping companies in the electrical industry supply chain transform their eCommerce business processes, and Sterling Commerce is pleased to be providing the technology foundation that can automate processes that were a challenge to automate in the past,” said Phil Smith, vice president, global network product lines, Sterling Commerce.

Sterling Commerce makes it easier to automate e-commerce/business-to-business (B2B) processes by enabling companies to securely and reliably exchange business documents. It provides connections to more than 90 other public and private networks and manages as many as 4.5 million B2B documents per day with more than 99.9 percent reliability.