October 27, 2009 – Datawatch Corporation added compliance and auditing capabilities to its report mining and analysis tool, Monarch 10.5, released today.

New capabilities allow the original source report from Microsoft Excel documents to be exported with the documents in a full-fidelity XML representation. Monarch 10.5 also includes enhanced compliance through the use of optional digital signatures that can be embedded in the Excel file as well.

Users can drill down from the Excel file into the original report to determine whether it has been altered, according to John H. Kitchen, chief marketing officer and senior vice president at Datawatch. Drill-down and embed capabilities are only available for Excel spreadsheets that the Monarch product generates however.

That said, while there are other solutions in the space that allow users to access source data, they do not have the ability to flip back and for between the information without technical expertise and database access, according to Lindsay Wise, president for Wise Analytics and industry analyst.

The industry divides itself when addressing data governance issues for spreadsheets, said Wise. “There are two perspectives: either, you can’t really trust Excel and you shouldn’t be using it, which results in vendors developing applications that look like Excel,” she said. “Or, vendors realize that no matter what others do in the industry people will always use Excel and, instead, they develop applications that work around it.”

Datawatch is working from the perspective that organizations are still going to be using spreadsheets, because it’s the easiest way to work with business intelligence data, said Wise. “Monarch Lets people use Excel the way they are used to working with it and then provides the data governance and compliance components.”

Including all of the available data from an original document in previous versions of the product is cumbersome at best, according to Monarch user Phillip C. Levi, a partner at the Montreal forensic accounting and auditing firm Levi & Sinclair, LLC.

“You don’t always want to import all of the available data from the original document or database in to a spreadsheet because you want it to be a workable document. But, there are times when you have to go back to the source document,” Levi said. “Now, with the ability to import that source document in to the excel spreadsheet, people have the ability to go back and review the document, rather than going back in to a separate document and application.”

The new product updates expand the reach of Monarch throughout the business, according to Levi. “It indirectly in allows a lot of people to benefit from it without having to know how to use it or even have it,” Levi said. “In the audit practice, you have a tremendous number of staff that don’t know how to use Monarch, but somebody in the back office can export all of the necessary information now for them to use in the field,” he said.

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