ECM Connection Q&A with Bill Lyons, CEO, AXS-One
ECM Connection had a chance to speak with the CEO of AXS-One, Bill Lyons, to discuss Sarbanes-Oxley, the effects of this legislation after five years of implementation, and what's ahead for SOX.
- Five years into implementation, what's the current take on Sarbanes-Oxley? Has it been good or bad for the economy overall and companies in particular?
Remember, Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted amid rising—and legitimate—concern over corporate America in the wake of scandals such as Enron, Global Crossing and Tyco. We believe that SOX is patently good for the economy and for corporate America as it has helped restore consumer confidence in the business world. The markets require consumer confidence to flourish.
- How well have companies responded in integrating ECM practices into company operations to ensure compliance with SOX?
Companies have established various processes with greater or lesser automation. We believe that enterprises worldwide will be implementing software and appropriate practices to manage their electronic records in the next few years to ensure compliance with SOX and with the myriad of other regulations, as well as to support requirements for discovery and to drive down operational costs.
- With large-scale investments in IT and other ECM-related areas to deal with SOX requirements, what effect has SOX had on budgetary priorities in the rest of the corporation?
Companies have no choice but to spend the money to comply. However, companies should understand that appropriate technology can actually reduce costs. Again, most companies are looking at addressing a broad range of requirements, not just SOX.
- What measures can and should companies take to control or at least optimize spending on ECM functions while ensuring compliance with SOX?
At a time when 80%+ of records are electronic, most companies still have too many paper processes. SOX, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), and 17a-4 all move the needle in the direction of electronic archiving so companies can maintain control of their corporate records. Companies shouldn't see SOX as a silo. To optimize their spending, they need to look at the broad issue of regulatory compliance and litigation readiness. Appropriate implementation of technology can significantly reduce operational costs, so organizations should see this as an opportunity.
- What's ahead? Will SOX continue to evolve and take on more restrictions? What will our assessment of SOX be five years from now?
It could be argued that the pendulum moved too far in one direction and companies scrambled to implement changes too quickly. In five years, the processes will be routine and the investment will be considered a blip. The rest of the world will also have issued laws and this will be the way of international business. SOX will be a non-issue in 5 years and just part of the DNA of doing business.
AXS-One Inc. (AMEX: AXO) is a leading provider of high performance Records Compliance Management solutions. The AXS-One Compliance Platform enables organizations to implement secure, scalable and enforceable policies that address records management for corporate governance, legal discovery and industry regulations such as SEC17a-4, NASD 3010, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, The Patriot Act and Gramm-Leach Bliley. Founded in 1978, and headquartered in Rutherford, NJ, AXS-One has offices worldwide including in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Kingdom and South Africa. For further information, visit the AXS-One web site at www.axsone.com.