IBM has acquired Sterling Commerce from AT&T for $1.4bn, as part of its planned $20bn acquisition spree to bolster in high-growth markets.
With the rapid growth of electronic transactions IBM is keen to offer what it describes "dynamic business networks". It is also planning to put these services in the cloud.
Sterling Commerce software and services has more than 18,000 customers in verticals such as finance and retail. It provides the infrastructure for them to connect and communicate with customers and provide them with the same experience across channels.
John Lewis is using an order management system from Sterling Commerce which provides online, telephone and in-store customers with the same experience.
It supports over one billion business transactions a year. Its portfolio will become part of IBM's Websphere business.
Craig Hayman, general manager Websphere at IBM, said: "This acquisition will give IBM new tools to help clients build dynamic business networks that connect partners, suppliers and clients and deliver a consistent customer experience across channels."
IBM will support Sterling Commerce clients and technologies and enable Sterling Commerce's customers to take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio. About 2,500 Sterling Commerce employees will be integrated into the Websphere business of IBM.