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IBM Unveils Service to Help Businesses Cost-Effectively Comply With Sarbanes-Oxley

Oil and Gas Company to Lower Compliance Costs, Improve Efficiency

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ARMONK, NY - 24 Jan 2005: IBM today announced a new service that provides a Web-based repository for document and records management to help clients of all sizes comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

Called IBM Flexible Hosting Solutions, Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting (WBCR) Service, the solution enables clients to utilize IBM's WBCR application software quickly via the Internet. The service provides businesses with an alternative to building and running their technology infrastructure in-house by tapping into computer systems in IBM data centers to provide sophisticated management of WBCR application software. The service uses existing IBM infrastructure, personnel and management expertise to help businesses lower costs and eliminate the challenges inherent in deploying and running sophisticated software on premises.

Among the first clients that will begin using IBM's new service is Barnwell Industries, Inc. Barnwell explores for, produces, and sells natural gas and oil in Canada and invests in leasehold land and drills wells and maintains water systems in Hawaii. Barnwell has about 50 employees. Like all companies whose stock is traded publicly in the United States, Barnwell is required to conform to SOX compliance regulations.

"Barnwell selected IBM's hosted WBCR service because we wanted to utilize the software at both our Canadian and Hawaiian offices, and it was a much more preferable solution for a company our size than to make the IT investment to install, run and manage the software and related additional hardware in house," said Russell M. Gifford, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Barnwell.

The new service is the latest in IBM's range of compliance capabilities that help clients do more than just meet basic requirements. IBM helps clients use compliance regulations as an opportunity to transform key business processes, allowing companies to improve efficiency, streamline processes and lower costs.

"Compliance is not a one-time activity, it is constant and evolves as legislation does, so it is vital for clients to be able to streamline processes and collect information in a way that is cost effective," said Susanne Ruschka-Taylor, Partner, IBM Business Consulting Services Business Risk Management practice. "Across IBM, using our technology specialists, researchers and business consultants, we are not just aiding clients in compliance, but are helping them use the new information unlocked by this process to improve the competitiveness of their business."

IBM's WBCR service also features backup and restoration services and help desk support. As enhancements to the WBCR software are released over time, the service will be updated so that clients are able to tap the most up-to-date product functionality. In addition, the roadmap for the service will address expansions of WBCR that can help companies address a broader range of compliance issues. The service is available immediately. Clients pay a monthly charge for the service based on the number of users.

Today's announcement builds on the recent addition of a Web conferencing service to IBM's application software services portfolio. IBM has been providing hosting services for about 10 years and today is working with more than 60 independent software vendors, including SAP, Siebel and many others to offer their software as a service, hosted at IBM data centers. Most services are sold on a usage basis.

IBM hosting services are made possible by IBM's data centers, which provide sophisticated management of applications. The cornerstone of the centers is IBM's Universal Management Infrastructure (UMI), which helps speed the deployment of critical IT resources. This has become increasingly important as companies need to react quickly to changing market demands and competitive pressures.

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