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AT&T WebService Connect Links Suppliers, Partners, and Customers

AT&T WebService Connect Simplifies Integration Across the Networked Enterprise

Thomson Financial Sets New Standard in Financial Services Industry With Adoption of Innovative Service

Bedminster, N.J., March 10, 2004.

AT&T today introduced an Internet-based business services network that dramatically reduces the cost, risk and complexity of integrating the networked enterprise across suppliers, partners and customers, enabling true interoperability and collaboration.

AT&T WebService Connect leverages the ubiquity of the Web to help companies and government agencies easily and securely connect, create, share and manage business processes and applications with their suppliers and customers. The service creates an environment or platform, called a service-oriented architecture, where applications can be developed by enterprises or third parties, incorporated into a business process, and then shared on demand across the extended enterprise.

"Today's announcement delivers on our commitment to provide customers with high-value enterprise and application networking solutions to address the complex integration challenges facing businesses today," said Eric Shepcaro, vice president, application networking. "We intend to continue expanding the breadth of our capabilities as we evolve into a leading networking integrator."

AT&T WebService Connect is a comprehensive solution that delivers a fully secure, managed platform for businesses to share their critical services and information with partners and customers to drive additional revenue and efficiencies in their businesses. Because the service is based on open standards, companies can easily and securely share information, regardless of the diverse systems and applications used by their suppliers and customers.

"As more and more business gets done on the network, companies increasingly are looking for ways to integrate their extended enterprise to increase productivity, create new revenue streams and control costs," Shepcaro said. "By leveraging our investments, infrastructure and expertise, businesses and government agencies can lower their total cost of ownership to integrate applications, data and critical business processes across their extended enterprise."

Thomson Financial, an operating unit of The Thomson Corporation and leading provider of information and technology solutions to the worldwide financial community, is one of the first customers of the new AT&T service. "Thomson Financial is all about delivering competitive advantage to its customers through its information and applications," said Jeff Scott, chief information officer, Thomson Financial. "Using AT&T WebService Connect, we will be able to deliver even greater value because this open, standards-based platform puts our customers in the driver's seat. They can use our services and applications on demand-in the format and on the systems of their choice."

Until now, two traditional approaches have been used by enterprises to share information and applications with partners: point-to-point connections or industry-specific communities. Over time, these approaches have proven to be both technically complex and cost prohibitive for today's any-to-any business integration model to be established and maintained.

Point-to-Point connections only work for a small set of isolated relationships. Once the number of relationships and interconnections increases, this approach quickly becomes exponentially more complex, and ongoing changes become inflexible.

Industry-specific communities sometimes provide limited ability to reach outside the boundaries of a specific industry. In some cases, a large percentage of customers are not part of the pre-defined industry.

AT&T WebService Connect delivers an end-to-end, integration solution based on the award-winning business services network from San Francisco-based Grand Central Communications. By subscribing to the AT&T service, businesses benefit from a solution based on open standards, which lowers the total cost of ownership and allows them to communicate with all their partners and customers, regardless of their technical infrastructure.

The Web-based business services network provides a framework for companies to rapidly and flexibly establish trusted connections with their diverse business units, partners and customers, without adding infrastructure. Connectivity to the network can be established with any application supporting Internet communications via the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), version 1.1, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and the Electronic Data Interchange-Internet Integration (EDIINT) AS2 protocol.

In addition, the service provides Web service gateways for exchanging data via additional Internet protocols, including Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). No particular brand of software is required to connect an application with the network as long as the application employs one of the supported open communication standards.

The intelligence in the network "translates" the differences in communications protocol, data format and security standards. As a result, the network enables customers to connect to applications that are controlled and managed by separate organizations.

Once a connection to the Web-based business services network has been configured, ongoing management of the business process is as simple as viewing a Web page. Administrators can view transaction histories, errors, usage and other detailed reports of the status and state of the integrations. These reports provide an end-to-end view over all the services involved in the integration, including those behind a partner's firewall, allowing administrators to view and understand errors across the entire integration. More information on AT&T WebService Connect is available at

About AT&T

For more than 125 years, AT&T (NYSE "T") has been known for unparalleled quality and reliability in communications. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company is a global leader in local, long distance, Internet and transaction-based voice and data services.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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