WestJet cruises through compliance issues

WestJet has turned to a new software tool to ensure it isn’t flying low when it comes to regulatory compliance.

The Calgary-based airline carrier recently selected IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting version 2.5, software designed to automate tasks related to managing, retaining, and securing business information.

Specifically, WestJet was seeking a tool to comply with government regulatory requirements such as Canadian Multilateral Instrument 52-109/111, which requires organizations to internally monitor business controls.

From a compliance perspective, the decision to purchase a risk- management tool was an easy one, said Corey Wells, director, audit and advisory services for WestJet.

WestJet’s short-term agreement to have the Web-based solution hosted by IBM has enabled the airline to quickly deploy the technology, Wells said. As it is a Web-based tool, there are no integration issues with WestJet’s current IT infrastructure, he added.

Wells noted that having the opportunity to test the compliance software before making a buying decision was a major factor in choosing the IBM tool. IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting version 2.5 features a role-based framework to manage assets and internal business controls. Similar compliance tools on the market feature the same core functionality, Wells said, but WestJet was particularly pleased with how the IBM tool was relatively simple to navigate and handled the overall workflow.

The tool the supports corporate governance frameworks including Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), which enables the airline to capture both financial and IT controls within one platform, Wells said. The measure of success, he said, is in making it easier to manage the overall business controls management infrastructure.

The current corporate governance environment — including Sarbanes-Oxley and similar government compliance regulation — has prompted organizations to create an effective business control framework. Most companies have the proper business controls in place but these aren’t centrally managed, said Jeremy Dies, IBM Workplace marketing manager.

The tool is an open, standards-based control management solution providing a holistic platform for companies to evaluate and report the status of controls management across the enterprise. Using the IBM Workplace collaboration framework, Dies said, organizations can develop solutions to manage internal controls and support financial reporting accuracy and real-time disclosures.

The software defines business controls and sets up a schedule where the controls can be tested and audited over time, he said.

According to a recent report from Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm IDC, IT departments have ramped up efforts in creating, formalizing and automating processes, policies and procedures to address regulatory compliance. The study, Worldwide Information Management for Compliance Market Forecast 2005-2009, noted that when it comes to compliance, there is an increased onus on IT departments to audit, monitor, and report on all systems.

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