Local tool tracks software changes

A local product which tracks changes made to data files and fields on the AS/400 platform is reaping sales in the US due to a law change by the American Food and Drug Administration, the body which regulates many consumer products.

A local product which tracks changes made to data files and fields on the AS/400 platform is reaping sales in the US due to a law change by the American Food and Drug Administration, the body which regulates many consumer products.

Drug and grooming product companies such as Smith Kline Beecham, Alberto-Culver and Abbot Laboratories have bought Audit Trail/400 from Auckland-based Cosyn Software. The AS/400 from IBM, now called iSeries, is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Audit Trail/400 compiles a complete chronology of field value changes in software, allowing the user to step backwards and forwards through the history on screen and highlight changes.

The companies are using the product to help them comply with article 21 of the Food and Drug Administration Act, which came into effect on October 1. The article requires companies to show they have complete control over changes to databases for drug and cosmetics formulae.

Alberto, for instance, which makes VO5 shampoo and operates 120 company sites worldwide, has installed Audit Trail/400 in three.

Cosyn Software marketing manager Trevor Middleton (pictured) says each company has signed a five-figure contract for the initial software purchase and ongoing maintenance.

He says Cosyn decided to develop the product because of customer requirements for a general reporting tool.

“It provides an audit trail of any changes. If something changes the first thing you ask is, who changed it and what did they change. You can use it for multiple purposes such as the integration of applications.

“For example, the system could sit across two [customer management] systems to ensure changes to customer names and addresses are met across both.”

In New Zealand PSM Healthcare, a division of Zuellig, uses the program, which was launched in September last year, for capturing changes to bills of materials. It is also used for auditing purposes by Montana Wines and Steel & Tube. Onesource, formerly Ubix and Cogent Communications, uses it to capture who changed what data and for feeding net changes to its finance company, Leasing Solutions.

Audit Trail/400 also includes API commands to let users incorporate standard reporting and inquiry functions within local programs. Tracked data is output to DB2 UDB/400 physical files, which can be used like any other file on the system. For example, a user could develop local programs that use the audit logs or inquire on them using SQL or Query.

To tell Audit Trail/400 which files and fields to monitor, users select the data library, choose the physical file to track from the list of files in the data library, then select the control information they want to record.

Each tracking transaction can be identified by user, date, time and workstation or job.

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