Legal fears drive software demand

21 Mar 2007

A plethora of health and safety requirements being enforced by Irish government and EU legislation is being cited as the main reason as to why the Irish market for compliance software products now exceed the value of HR and payroll software.

The study by iReach, which was commissioned by Irish-owned software compliance company EMEX, found that the Irish and UK software compliance market is now worth in excess of €1bn.

It found that the total value of the security compliance and control market reached €5.6bn worldwide in 2006.

EMEX chief executive Richard Wall said that not only are health and safety legislation but the Companies Acts and Sarbanes Oxley are placing an onus on company directors to manage risk in a more integrated fashion.

“Increasingly individual officers of the company rather than the company itself can be prosecuted for failure to comply with company law and health and safety legislation,” said Wall.

“This is serving to concentrate minds from the point of view of personal as well as corporate risks involved,” he added.

According to the study 88pc of businesses intend to implement a risk management plan of some sort in 2007.

“This highlights the importance that organisations are placing on mitigating corporate risk as well as company liability,” explained EMEX sales director Kieran Sexton.

While the report showed high awareness of health and safety legislation, it found many Irish firms were leaving themselves open to increased risks and costs.

“While two thirds of US firms have implemented an integrated risk management system, only 38pc of firms in the UK, for example, are doing the same,” said Oisin Byrne, managing director of iReach.

Byrne said that this was likely to change as company officers recognised the risks and costs of failure to implement risk management and compliance systems.

“Legislative obligations in the EU and Ireland are making the industry operational environment much more fraught with peril,” said Byrne. “Penalties for non compliance are not only becoming more severe but are being enforced and impacting on company officers personally.”

By John Kennedy