Sterling Software Inc.'s Electronic Commerce Group announced that it has launched an on-line information service for users of its electronic commerce products and services.

The on-line service, called the Sterling Forum, provides users with access to new product information and customer support for existing systems.

"This service has been designed to provide customers with the answers to many of the questions they have regarding our products," said Robert O'Malley, director of strategic initiatives at Sterling.

"It gives customers a tool to talk to each other to learn more about electronic data interchange and other trends in the business."

Based in Dublin, Ohio, The Electronic Commerce Group specializes in providing electronic commerce products and services including electronic data interchange network services to financial services companies.

Sterling is offering the service free of charge through 1995 to users of its Commerce, Gentran, and Connect software.

Customers are required to pay only for the cost of the phone call to access the service.

The Electronic Commerce Group plans to provide support for additional products throughout 1995.

Mr. O'Malley said the service offers an electronic user-to-user message board, answers to commonly asked questions regarding product lines, access to customer support staff, and information about new products and services.

"The intention of the service is to provide customers with the fullest possible advantage from our products and services while alerting them to updates and changes in our systems," said Warner Blow, president of the Electronic Commerce Group.

"Users can use the Sterling Forum to exchange ideas and information with each other and have easy access to customer support."

The on-line service can be accessed through both IBM and Macintosh formatted personal computers that are equipped with communications software and a modem.

Mr. O'Malley said the on-line service is staffed with Sterling employees who have the same expertise as its telephone hot line operators.

"Users can expect to receive the same level of service that is available on through our help telephone lines when they connect to the Sterling Forum," said Mr. O'Malley.

Janet Hamilton, an information manager/senior support specialist for AT&T Corporate Information Technology, said the forum provided her with the opportunity to learn about various problems and solutions.

"I was able to help a caller very quickly after browsing through the forum because the problem they were asking about, I had just read about," she said.

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