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Mercury Refreshes SOX Tools

As businesses prepare for another year of compliance requirements, business technology optimization vendor Mercury Interactive updated its IT governance software, officials said Monday.

Mercury has beefed up its IT Governance Center software with more controls and options for IT managers at a time when compliance efforts have become a high priority within corporate offices.

Regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, require tighter controls over the information that flows through the business. For IT managers, this means getting a handle on the information that passes through the network -- e-mails, documents, memos and the like.

IT Governance Center 6.0 includes such enhancements as customizing the dashboards found in the IT governance software and support for Statement of Position 98-1 (SOP 98-1), a regulation by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for tracking expenses incurred on internal software development projects.

The IT compliance update adds "what-if" scenario planning and time-management policy enforcement to its feature list, helping customers prepare for another year of deadlines. Version 6.0 also includes enhancements for companies located in different parts of the world, with multi-currency support for multi-national teams.

Sue Barsamian, Mercury vice president of marketing, said the role of IT governance has changed a lot, prompted by federal regulations and the corporate world's insistence that IT get a better hold of the information contained in the network.

The company also announced Mercury Managed Services for IT Governance, a services component that lets companies put the onus of IT governance in the hands of Mercury experts.

The business benefit to signing up for the managed service is that it lets companies implement internal IT governance policies without having to train employees, or hire a new employee, to comply with the latest regulations. Instead, Mercury's services team institutes the necessary changes for the business.

IT Governance Center 6.0 and Mercury Managed Services for IT Governance are designed to automate a process that can be difficult to accomplish manually. Companies were able to meet federal guidelines by manually conforming to the reporting requirements, Chad Haftorson, director of product management at Mercury said, but they're realizing they will need something a little more permanent in the future.

"People are starting to come to the realization now that if they don't get something in by, say, August or September or so, they're going to have to do it all over manually -- bringing in all the auditors they did last year, spend a third of IT's time on this," he said. "It'll be a little bit easier than last year but still a big challenge."

Mercury said the IT Governance Center 6.0 is immediately available, while products from the software release will be available through Mercury Managed Services for IT Governance in the second quarter.