Sterling adds remote mgmt. software

ATLANTA -- Sterling Commerce will rely on Symantec's pcAnywhere software to satisfy enterprise customers who need to take control of remote PCs they manage over dial-up connections.

Sterling last week announced plans to integrate pcAnywhere into its Connect: Remote PC-management software by the end of the first quarter of 2000 in response to customer demand for better control over remote PCs.

Remote control software lets network professionals call up PCs and operate them as if they were sitting at the machines. In that way, users can install software without sending a technician to the site, and they don't have to rely on users who are not technically sophisticated.

"It saves time and money if you don't have to send someone out to a site," says Mike Erbrick, director of restaurant information systems for 750 Chick-Fil-A restaurants. Each restaurant has a Windows NT PC running back-office applications.A staff of four maintains the entire network.

Most customers who use remote control software are familiar with pcAnywhere, says Stephen Drake, senior research analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass. The product accounts for more than half of remote control sales, he says. That means Connect:Remote users are more likely to be familiar and comfortable with pcAnywhere already, he says.

Connect:Remote in the past has been integrated with Remotely Possible, remote control software made by Avalon, which has been bought by Computer Associates. But Sterling says customers were more comfortable with pcAnywhere.

Some customers didn't use the Remotely Possible feature in Connect: Remote even if they needed remote control features. Instead, they bought pcAnywhere separately and kludged it together with Connect:Remote, says Shari Freeman, product line manager for Connect:Remote.

With its new OEM relationship with Symantec, Sterling will end its arrangement with Computer Associates for Remotely Possible.

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