With the acquisition of Virsa, SAP hopes to move ahead in the governance, risk-management and compliance (GRC) field.
Virsa is a GRC specialist and has built a lucrative business in the growing financial control area. Regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and similar have been progressively installed following high-profile financial scandals such as the Enron debacle.
Virsa works by automating significant parts of the process of scanning for and then fixing vulnerable points in a business’ structure. These include, for example, inadequate separation of functions, and easing the monitoring of executives’ day-to-day activities.
By automating processes, Virsa reduces the cost of such compliance, says Stefan Goehring, SAP Australia’s business development manager.
New Zealand companies have not been burdened with heavy regulation to date. Being, in general, smaller they also tend to be the kind of organisations where one person does several jobs and staff trust each another, says Goehring.
But this will change quite quickly with the requirement that companies change to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the beginning of next year. SAP believes this will create a demand for its services, as Kiwi companies will have to tighten up their business processes to meet these new standards.
This will also focus attention on other ways of improving governance and reducing risk — both financially and within IT — SAP believes.
The Virsa suite includes, for example, a Compliance Calibrator, which identifies anomalies such as a person allocated two roles that involve a conflict of interest.