This is our first posting coming to you direct from the Sterling Commerce Customer Connection 2010 Conference.  For readers unfamiliar with Sterling, this company’s expertise lies in automating customer collaboration networks.  The company offers both the full feature Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite as well as the Sterling Business Integration Suite. Sterling has built out these capabilities from its own product development as well as a series of acquisitions over the past few years.  Supply chain audiences may recall names such as Yantra in WMS and order fulfillment, Nistevo in transportation management or Comergent in order capture.

I had an uneventful trip flying into Dallas today and I suppose that may be news in itself when you consider how challenging airline travel can be these days.  Over 700 people pre-registered for this conference and walking around today, my sense is that they have all arrived.  Sessions and breakouts are full and that in itself is a very good sign that companies are beginning to turn more positive towards the future.  Throughout 2009, when travel and discretionary expenses were dramatically decreased in many companies, conferences were very sparsely attended.  There seems to be more of a sense of optimism at this conference.

Most of my afternoon today involved speaking with various Sterling executives, as well as some industry attendees.  The general tone is that there is positive feeling toward the customer collaboration and order management technology areas, since many companies are now shifting focus toward growing top line revenues and inclined to invest in gaining market share.  Cross channel / multi-channel management and insuring differentiated customer service capabilities are the trends which Sterling and its partner teams are clearly focused upon for 2010.

Tomorrow, I will be attending some of the educational sessions and will continue with my interviews of Sterling, Infosys, and other attendees, so stay tuned.

Bob Ferrari