Software Automates Content Tracking and Management

New tools help users comply with privacy, financial reporting rules

Software vendors FileNet Corp. and IBS America Inc. have each developed Web-based systems aimed at helping users to automate content tracking and management for complying with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and the Basel II bank capital accord.

The introduction of these so-called compliance frameworks is partly a reflection of how corporate executives are broadening their views of regulatory compliance, said AMR Research Inc. analyst John Hagerty. Increasingly, companies are leaning toward using IT architectures that can address many requirements instead of trying to attack each one individually, he said. But Hagerty added that most potential users have yet to completely buy into the compliance framework approach. "I believe customers are starting to think that way," he said. "But I would not say that they are buying that way yet."

FileNet's Compliance Framework, which is being introduced today, is designed to help corporate managers audit and track documents. The browser-based system uses technology from FileNet's existing Enterprise Content Management product line and includes modules that support collaboration and the management of records, forms and other types of content.

In addition, Compliance Framework includes an event-driven architecture that can quickly identify and initiate responses to material events, such as a sudden change in projected quarterly sales, according to FileNet officials. That feature could be applied toward Section 409 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires companies to deliver timely reports to investors.

'Compliance' Market

"From a macro perspective, Sarbanes-Oxley is the piece that's going to drive the bulk of the attention around the marketplace," said Chris McLaughlin, director of financial services marketing at Costa Mesa, Calif.-based FileNet. But he added that the vendor is trying to provide "a good, flexible foundation to allow customers to build in new compliance requirements" to meet other forthcoming regulations.

Lexington, Mass.-based IBS America last week announced QSI Websystem for Compliance Management, which is designed to automate the process of identifying who created a document, tracking where it has been routed and capturing other information.

The document-control system offers role-based user screens and expands beyond an existing Notes-based system that can be used to monitor compliance with quality-assurance standards such as ISO 9000, IBS said.

Dana Corp. in Toledo, Ohio, has used the Notes software since 1996. The automotive parts supplier plans to roll out QSI Websystem once IBS begins shipping a version of the software for use in training employees, said Brian Sniegocki, a senior IT analyst at Dana. That release is due late next month.

Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is one of the big drivers of the plan to use QSI Websystem, Sniegocki said. "In our organization, it's imperative to have a browser-based system to simplify [document] access," he said, adding that the software could benefit internal business managers as well as suppliers and customers.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon