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Procter & Gamble Licenses IP To Approva

Approva Corp. has licensed intellectual property from Procter & Gamble Co. to integrate into its BizRights platform and the Enterprise Controls Suite that P&G will deploy.

Approva Corp. has licensed intellectual property from Procter & Gamble Co. to integrate into its BizRights platform and Enterprise Controls Suite that P&G will deploy, the companies said Wednesday.

P&G's IT department began developing the application called Checkmate two years ago. The software would help the consumer goods company to tightly manage its global SAP AG deployment after Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements forced better reporting controls.

Not wanting to manage the software deployment long-term, P&G executives in October began looking for a company that would consider embedding Checkmate into a commercial application.

P&G found Approva. "We're a consumer products company and not a development company, and it's not the kind of space long term we want to be in," said Melanie Moody, P&G associate director, information security and solutions. "Given the size of our SAP implementation and the complexity of our business, nothing was the correct fit."

The decision meant licensing the technology to Approva, giving P&G the technical support that commercial products typically receive.

Customers, such as consumer goods product companies, often request that software makers add features. But developing the capabilities and licensing them to the software company "isn't done frequency and it's extremely innovative," said Rick Cobb, chief operating officer at Approva.

P&G, one of the first companies to begin shipping cases and pallets of goods affixed with radio frequency identification ((RFID) tags to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Dallas/Fort Worth distribution center in 2004, has a reputation for IT innovation and leading business processes and practices.

Some of those leading processes went into developing the software. "For example, in some cases we have segregated employee tasks," Moody said. "You don't want people to have the ability to order goods and adjust inventory because that prompts the potential for someone to create fraud."

Giving business users the ability to monitor controls has become important.

There are similar deals in the pipeline with other companies, said Bill Metz, global business services external business development manager at P&G. "There is a video recording piece of software that we use to record consumer interviews, digitize and search across them," he said. "We're exploring commercializing the software with a couple of partners."

With nearly 140,000 employees working in more than 80 countries, P&G claims to support brands – Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Folgers, Charmin, Gillette, and others – with the largest global deployment of SAP software in the world.

P&G will use the software to design, test, monitor and audit application controls across its global SAP enterprise software deployment including managing sensitive access and segregation of duties (SOD), supporting a compliant provisioning process for new user requests, and monitoring sensitive transactions within SAP.

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