SAS Takes On Sarb-Ox Compliance

Targeting chief financial officers under pressure to meet stringent regulatory requirements, SAS Institute releases its Financial Intelligence solution.

SAS Institute Inc. is making its strongest push yet to capture mind share of chief financial officers under pressure to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

With Sarbanes-Oxleys initial filing deadline less than a month away, on Nov. 15, SAS last week at its BetterManagement Live conference here released its Financial Intelligence solution, the fourth set of software applications built on its SAS 9 platform.

Officials of the Cary, N.C., company said the solution is SAS strongest challenge yet to Hyperion Solutions Corp., the acknowledged market leader in financial and BPM (business performance management) applications. The SAS solution includes application suites for financial management, BPM, activity-based management and costing, risk management, as well as a financial controls repository.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read about Hyperions solution for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, click here.

Financial Intelligence includes algorithms that allow budget values to be computed and recomputed on the fly, giving SAS a unique advantage, officials said. "Each time you ask for a value, you get a subsecond response, and that value appears," said SAS CEO and founder Jim Goodnight. "From a budgeting standpoint, that means that budgets are rolled up instantly; every change somebody makes in a budget is just instantaneously updated."

The Financial Intelligence solution may not be complete yet, either. Goodnight said SAS next product release, which will ship by years end, will be a new version of the Operational Risk Management application SAS acquired from OpRisk Analytics LLC last year. That product will likely be part of Financial Intelligence eventually, he said.

"A lot of people have asked us to include operational risk as part of our Sarbanes-Oxley solution," he said. "Eventually, itll be merged in. But since our op risk and corporate governance software are proceeding very rapidly on totally separate tracks, its going to take us a little while to pull them together. These are all things that are under way right now."

/zimages/2/28571.gifAre you ready for Sarbanes-Oxley? Click here.

Because the applications in the solution set are all built on SAS 9, the products more easily integrate with one another and with other SAS applications. Thats a big plus in the new release for David Klementz, CFO of Progress Rail Services Corp., which uses SAS Financial Management and Strategic Performance Management applications.

"Before, they didnt integrate," said Klementz in Raleigh, N.C. "That was one of the functional issues with the product."

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