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SCM Tools Offer Compliance Help

Companies that used manual tracking techniques in 2004 to meet initial Sarbanes-Oxley compliance deadlines are now ripe for considering tools to automate compliance tracking, according to analysts and industry watchers.

For those companies that are ready to automate at least some processes, tools that fall under the ever-expanding label of software change and configuration management can help.

According to IDC research analyst Melissa Webster, many firms scrambled to meet the November 2004 compliance deadline, which the SEC extended at the last minute, by using manual processes. Companies "sort of overlaid their development processes with a lot of cumbersome manual processes," Webster said. "This year, [they'll] be looking for products to help automate." Specifically, she said, products that offer a strong workflow are good candidates for companies looking for help automating.

As one example, MKS has just shipped MKS Integrity Suite 2005, a new release that can help with compliance automation, among other things. Along with some compliance-specific features, the new version of the company's software change management suite adds a management dashboard for management decision support, and integrated requirements management.

MKS has also added features such as a configurable dashboard for viewing corporate software development activity worldwide, complete with drill-down capabilities into details and full ability to trace code right down to line-of-code changes. That lets managers monitor information such as defect trend rates, the status of assigned tasks, and work effort across a range of platforms, including distributed, iSeries, and mainframe. Information is relayed to the dashboard in real time as developers work.

One feature of the new product that may help with compliance is MKS's e-signature support, along with server-side audit logging, which captures and preserves an audit trail of any modification of data--a key Sarbanes-Oxley requirement.

MKS Integrity Suite 2005 is available now. For pricing information, contact MKS.

About the Author

Linda Briggs is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She can be reached at lbriggs@lindabriggs.com.

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