Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who has the best TC software out there?

I am sure there are thousands of business users asking this question. I got a comment asking me which TC software has depth and real direction for a bunch of functionality.

I must admit I have sat on a few vendor selection committees for export compliance software and worked on RFP's and RFI's with some vendors. The Trade Compliance applications space has many players with different strengths and weaknesses. The applications also apply to many industries some of which have some very specialized needs. For example the software industry has needs for encryption export licensing while the high performance computing industry has computing power calculation needs (millions of theoretical operations per second) for exports. I will abstain from saying vendor x is good in this area and vendor y is good in another. Instead I will make some general comments.

I have found that Trade Compliance software aren't always good at both technology and functionality. Functionality depends on master data and code/programs. When I say technology I mean the basic building blocks that make the software work like architecture, tools etc.. While looking for vendors good ground work needs to be done on what the expectations are in terms of technology and functionality. Here are a few examples:

Technology: What's the expectation on application uptime and scalability?
Must the application be able to do screening of millions of customers against an addition to the restricted parties list? How quickly must the process complete? Must the application be able to do other screening at the same time? How quickly must it respond?

Functionality: Must license exceptions be automatically assigned? Must licenses received from the governments and created in the app be automatically incremented and decremented? What should be the false positive rate for Restricted Party Screening results?

If you plan to use a Service Oriented Architecture/Software as a Service/Application Service Provider vendor add on requirements on data security, service level, data queueing, response time etc...

In summary, go through vendor selection. Go in prepared with your requirements and scoring criteria. Make sure you cover both the technology and functionality aspects. If you are looking for a list of vendors let me know and I will send you links of publications by research houses of some of the major vendors in the fray. Choose carefully?

Please note, I do not have interest in the stock of any of the vendors, nor do I have any vested interest in any of them.