IBM releases compliance software for U.S. gov't agencies

Software is designed to help agencies with financial reporting regulations

IBM announced Wednesday a new version of its financial controls compliance software designed for U.S. government agencies facing their own financial reporting regulations.

The new version of IBM's Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting (WBCR) software is aimed at federal agencies that have to comply with financial controls regulations, similar to the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations for private companies passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002. White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations defining financial control responsibilities for government agencies take effect Oct. 1.

IBM sees demand for a government-focused financial controls compliance package, said Rebecca Buisan, market manager for IBM Workplace Solutions. IBM modified a new version of its Sarbanes-Oxley focused WBCR software to focus on the government market, she said.

A June meeting on OMB financial controls compliance drew a standing-room only crowd of about 60 people from about 12 government agencies, Buisan said. "Federal agencies are going through a lot of effort to figure out how to handle this," she said.

Although Sarbanes-Oxley regulations govern financial reporting that public companies must do, government agencies have their own brand of financial reporting, Buisan noted. U.S. agencies must issue financial reports to Congress, and the new OMB regulation establishes rules for handling of that data.

IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting 2.5.1 is available immediately $28,750 per 25 users, with maintenance available for $5,750 per 25 users. Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting is also available as a hosted service for $65 to $100 per user per month, with an initial set-up fee starting at $5,000.

Included in the new features of IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting, version 2.5.1:

-- Integrated analytic functionality that enables organizations to embed analytic reports into existing business processes and makes information available to a wide spectrum of users and applications.

-- A function IBM calls "business process choreography," which enables companies or agencies to automate business process steps.

-- Improved audit and control management support with additional control reporting attributes and enhanced flexibility and controls for account documentation.

-- A so-called "test drive program" that offers companies or agencies the opportunity to test IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting 2.5.1, with no fees or costs are involved in a five-user, five-day test period.

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