OpenPages Inc. seeks to drive greater enterprise adoption of packaged Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance software through a deal with audit company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
OpenPages last week acquired for an undisclosed sum PwCs ICW (Internal Controls Workbench) software, which is used for SarbOx compliance. The software developer also joined PwCs Vendor Alliance Program, allowing the two companies to work more closely together in providing compliance software and services.
The move gave OpenPages access to PwCs 375 ICW customers, more than seven times the number of customers OpenPages has for its SOX Express compliance software. The Waltham, Mass., company intends to migrate ICW customers to SOX Express by June 30, 2005, when it plans to end support for ICW. Customers who use ICW to manage the initial documentation of their SarbOx-compliance processes would use SOX Express to monitor and maintain compliance with those processes automatically, officials said.
Startups and established software developers have flooded the market with packaged software to help companies comply with the act, which requires public companies to have specific financial controls in place. But enterprises have been slow to invest in such software. Meta Group Inc., of Stamford, Conn., published research last December that indicated that more than half of all compliance software developers were disappointed in their software sales and that 75 percent of investments made in SarbOx compliance were for consulting and other services.
PwC developed ICW for its clients as part of its consulting services; it did not sell the software separately. In fact, PwCs audit clients received the software for free, according to Lynn Edelson, PwC partner and chairperson of the firms Sarbanes-Oxley Task Force. Edelson described the SarbOx-compliance software market as being "on the brink of an explosion." However, Edelson said PwC does not want to be a software vendor.
"Our strategy has always been to stick to our core competency, which is risk assessment, advisement and tax, not software," said Edelson in Los Angeles.
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