New SAP GRC App Focuses on International Trade

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SAP's GRC (governance, risk and compliance) division is honing in on international trade with the launch of Global Trade Services 8.0 on Wednesday.

SAP customers use GTS to keep in compliance with international trade regulations, expedite cross-country transactions and find cost savings.

A major new theme of the announcement is how GTS can work in concert with SAP's Business Objects risk management application, said Narina Sippy, senior vice president and general manager of GRC solutions, who will give a keynote speech at a SAP GRC conference in Las Vegas this week.

"You're able to automate not only the regulatory compliance across trade processes, whether it's order fulfillment or specific regional government trade regulations, but then also be able to identify key risks across the supply chain and trade process," she said.

One new capability in GTS 8.0 can detect whether a given transportation route cuts across another nation's border and, if so, it will factor that into compliance screening. Another helps manufacturers save money on duty taxes they would otherwise have to pay on imported components.

The release is also pre-integrated with SAP business applications, including HCM (human capital management) and transportation management.

SAP declined to provide pricing information for GTS 8.0.

Meanwhile, the economy has not affected GRC software sales much, according to Sippy. Given the global recession, "it's almost a good time to be in GRC," she said. However, attendance at the Las Vegas conference is tracking 20 percent to 30 percent below last year's, according to Sippy.

Overall, the GRC software market is "at a very early stage with respect to adoption, as most enterprises maintain hand-coded systems comprising custom-built applications, manual processes, and spreadsheets to manage these areas," according to a recent IDC report.

While the recent wave of financial scandals will likely spur increased interest in GRC, there is no one proper technological approach to the issue, and it really must start with corporate cultures and practices, not software, according to the report.

Forrester Research analyst Chris McClean sounded a similarly cautionary note in a February report.

"Along with mounting interest in GRC come eager software vendors with promises of unique and groundbreaking solutions," he wrote. While some companies have shown they can deliver, he added, "the trick is to filter through the hundreds of vendors with GRC claims to identify the ones that provide the specific pieces of the puzzle you need."

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