As IT departments gear up to support their companies efforts to comply with complex financial reporting rules laid out in the Sarbanes-Oxley law, a host of document management and business process management vendors are rolling out software to assist in the process.
The law, which will be phased into effect over the next nine months, requires companies to disclose in real time material changes in their financial condition and to report on how they are addressing internal controls and financial reporting procedures.
Document management software from Documentum Inc. and IBM could be used to gather the appropriate documents to create such reports, these vendors said. At the same time, BPM (business process management) software developers HandySoft Corp. and Logical Apps said their offerings could be used by companies to standardize business processes thus documenting how they are addressing financial controls.
On the BPM side, HandySoft, of Vienna, Va., later this month will announce the BizFlow Solution for Sarbanes-Oxley, a subset of its BizFlow business process workflow software designed to simplify the Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 audit procedures.
The Web-based application automates the collection of data with secure forms. Pre-built workflows lay out procedures for keeping an eye on sales, distribution and other business issues that could have a material impact on a companys finances. Integration points with popular document management systems, including Documentums, help enable real-time monitoring and reporting of results outlined in the defined business process workflows.
BizFlow Solution for Sarbanes-Oxleys Web UI presents task lists and reports to managers and other employees of a business using the software.
“Its about process enforcement and improvement,” said Daryn Walters, vice president of worldwide marketing for HandySoft. “This is the urgency to get the customers to act; it is forcing them to look at their processes.”
The HandySoft software is available now and can be installed in a matter of days, Walters said. Pricing is about $50,000 installed.
For its part, Logical Apps next week will roll out an upgrade to its AppsRules BPM software and a new module, called AppsFlow, that together will be targeted for uses with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
AppsFlow provides a metadata layer on top of Oracle Corp.s namesake enterprise applications.
“It is easy to model a workflow with drag and drop tools, but that process doesnt do anything without someone hardwiring the workflow into the [application] processes,” said Logical Apps CEO Chris Capdevila, in Irvine, Calif. “Our process rule layer…generates the code [connecting the workflow design to the application processes] on the fly at runtime—some engines generate code one time fashion.”
AppsFlow will provide a library of pre-configured workflows for four common business processes – item configuration, customer configuration, financial close and change order processing.
AppsRules provides a GUI for defining metadata rules in plain English.
Later this quarter, Logical Apps will introduce a BPM tool, called AppsCreate, that stretches beyond Oracle apps to provide workflow and metadata definition to Web-based applications, Capdevila said.
On the document management side, Documentum, of Pleasanton, Calif., next week will announce a packaged offering, called the Corporate Governance and Compliance Solution. This software combines the companys existing technologies for content and document management, records management and collaboration, and adds six new templates that Documentum developed in combination with professional services firm BearingPoint Inc.
The templates add special “Compliance Workplaces” to Documentums eRoom team collaboration software, specifically for Board of Directors, Compliance Program and Controls Design. There are also templates for specific workflows and document lifecycles, including Internal Controls/Procedures, Closing Process and SEC Filing Process.
The package also includes Enterprise Controls and Records Repository, using Documentums core document management and Records Manager products and Whistleblower Support, using Documentum Record Services for E-mail, which gives employees the ability to report conduct that would violate securities laws or defraud shareholders.
BearingPoint will provide additional consulting and implementation services.
Separately. IBM officials, in Armonk, N.Y., said they too are planning new packages of similar technology and consulting services to meet not only Sarbanes-Oxley but other regulatory requirements. However, company officials said no bundles have yet to be finalized and customer requirements are still being assessed.
This story was altered after its original posting to clarrify the maker of the AppsRules and AppsFlow software.