Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Day: June 27, 2005

XBRL and The Big Stick

On Wednesday of last week PR Newswire sponsored a set of webcast presentations on XBRL. This was part of PR Newswire’s increasing engagement with XBRL. The company is in the business of publishing earnings releases and would like to see more of them arriving tagged in XBRL. To that end, PR Newswire has entered into a number of agreements with technology firms and others engaged in XBRL. last week’s panel discussion showcased an agreement with Rivet Software, in which PR Newswire offers Rivet’s Dragon Tag tool, which can be used to set up XBRL tagging of documents from Microsoft Excel and Word. The panel included Campbell Pryde, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, Wayne Harding, VP Business Development at Rivet Software, Daniel Roberts, National Director of Assurance Innovation at Grant Thornton LLP and Vice-Chair US Adoption for XBRL-US, and Liv Watson, Vice President of XBRL at EDGAR Online, Inc.

The presentations would be useful for anyone wanting an update on XBRL issues. They are available in an onlinearchive.

As anyone following my contributions on the Gilbane blogs knows, I think that XBRL is an important early-stage standards initiative. I also find myself wondering about the eventual pace and scope of XBRL adoption. In particular, I have been wondering what will drive adoption. Much of the early XBRL activity has been focused around external financial reporting–rather than internal use of XBRL–and I have been wondering where the payoff would be for a company. If the benefits of these early XBRL initiatives go primarily to external users, what is the motivation for the investment?

One common answer is the “Big Stick” theory of adoption–the SEC is going to MAKE companies use XBRL. Well … maybe. I heard Peter Derby, Managing Executive for Operations and Management at the SEC, talk about the SEC’s XBRL initiative at the 11th International XBRL conference, and he sure didn’t sound like he was ready to make XBRL submissions a requirement. (see my blog entry on Derby’s presentation). But, there certainly could be another story behind the official, public assertion that the market, not agencies, should set standards. Does the SEC have strong motivations of its own to push for faster, more pervasive use of XBRL–or something like it?

Daniel Roberts of Grant Thornton used part of his time during last week’s panel presentation to argue that there is indeed such a motivation. Roberts acknowledged all of the official reasons for the SEC voluntary program–testing technology features, uncovering software available for data tagging, finding out how mature the taxonomies are, discovering how deeply data will be tagged, assessing the amount of effort required to tag the data, and–of course–assessing the utility of the tagging for the SEC. However, in Roberts’ view these official reasons leave out the BIG reason that the SEC needs XBRL. According to Roberts, the SEC needs XBRL so that the agency does not end up buried in a mountain of paper (or PDF or HTML — which are largely the same thing when it comes to analyzing financial reports) and with keeping the SEC out of trouble with Congress.

According to Roberts, the SEC now receives a million pages of newly filed information every day. Given this enormous stream of data, the SEC is currently able to review the financial statements from only about 18% of the companies submitting filings each year. Roberts directed attention to the language of Section 408 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which reads, “In no event shall an issuer required to file reports under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 be reviewed under this section less frequently than once every 3 years.” If the SEC is currently doing only 18% of the companies a year, and they are required to review every company no less frequently than every three years, well … do the math.

Further, given the outcry from companies having difficulty meeting SEC deadlines under the Sarbanes Oxley Act, Roberts said that it was highly unlikely that the SEC would want to report back to Congress with the news that the SEC, itself, was not able to meet the requirements of the Act.

In short, Roberts argued that the SEC needs XBRL more than it is letting on and that companies should expect to find that XBRL submissions are required within a matter of years. Given that outlook, companies would be well-advised to get started on the XBRL learning curve now, while submissions are voluntary, while you can use XBRL for a quarter, skip it for a quarter, upgrade your tools and techniques, and try again.

There is no doubt about it: A Big Stick makes an impressive argument. And there can be no doubt that the SEC does have a Big Stick. The question that remains, given the U.S. discomfort with setting technology standards by regulatory decree and the change to a new SEC chairman who is generally expected to be less aggressive in introducing regulations, is whether the SEC will want to use its Big Stick to answer the question of why companies should adopt XBRL. What do you think?

Xerox Announces 24 Products – Bundles Workflow with DocuShare

Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) announced 24 new digital products, software and services. Xerox unveiled its latest suite of office multifunction systems, printers, digital copiers and software, along with IT services designed to track, analyze and optimize how customers manage fleets of office devices. Xerox is now bundling its DocuShare content management software with its FreeFlow SMARTsend workflow software. This offering allows customers to integrate hardcopy documents into digital work processes to reduce costs and comply with industry regulations. Xerox also announced 10 partner solutions designed to control costs and streamline document-intensive processes. These offerings extend the capabilities of Xerox advanced MFPs to help solve problems related to cost accounting, document scanning and routing, making emergency notifications and managing forms. The list of companies includes EFI, Equitrac, IPro Tech Inc., Notable Solutions Inc., Principia Products, ScanSoft Inc., Streem Communications and Verity Inc.

Mekon Ltd. Partners with XyEnterprise

XyEnterprise announced that Mekon Ltd., a UK independent integrator of XML solutions, has become a new business partner for XyEnterprise’s XML Professional Publisher (XPP) and Content@ content management solutions. Mekon will work with XyEnterprise to provide sales, professional services and technical support for XyEnterprise solutions targeted at the government, educational, aerospace and global pharmaceutical industries.,

Day Releases Content Repository Extreme (CRX)

Day Software (SWX:DAYN)(OTC:DYIHY) announced the general availability of Day Content Repository Extreme (CRX), a new product that enables the storage, management and exchange of content across large-scale enterprises. Day CRX provides a standards-based infrastructure for integrating business applications with any structured or unstructured content in an enterprise. New features in Day CRX enable the exchange of high-value content between applications and repositories. Day’s CRX offers complete support for the recently approved Java technology standards for content management, JSR 170. The Content Repository for Java technology API was developed through the Java Community Process (JCP) program. By natively supporting JSR 170 in Day CRX, the new product enables applications to store, manage and access content in a Java technology-based repository, regardless of which platform, database, storage device, business or Web application was used to create the content. Day CRX provides full support for all of the functionality defined in the JSR 170 specification, including Level I, Level II and optional features. Day CRX includes capabilities that support the following JSR 170 standard specifications for content repositories: workspaces, hierarchy, reading and writing, nodes and properties, serialization, transactions, versioning, observation, access control, locking, and search via the new JSR query language and/or XPath queries. CRX can be downloaded at

Interwoven Integrating with Storage Solutions from EMC, Network Appliance, & Sun

Interwoven, Inc. (NASDAQ:IWOV) announced that it is providing customers with content storage solutions based on integrations with storage partners including EMC, Network Appliance, and Sun Microsystems. Interwoven’s content storage solutions include: Storage-Enabled Collaborative Document Management and End-to-End Web Record Retention. Interwoven is extending its Collaborative Document Management system through the integration of Interwoven WorkSite MP software with the EMC Centera content addressed storage (CAS) solution and disk-based WORM storage medium. Using the WorkSite MP Library Manager, customers can determine the appropriate level of storage into Centera, establishing a storage assignment for documents at the library, facility, or workspace level. Interwoven has extended its Content Provisioning solution to include key WORM storage integrations with: NearStore, a unified nearline storage system armed with NetApp SnapLock; Sun Microsystems Content Infrastructure System; and IBM DR-550 (via systems integrator partner Micro Strategies, Inc). The Interwoven Content Provisioning solution is a master deployment system for websites and applications, deploying all code, content and configurations.

ATG Enhances ATG Commerce with Integrated Natural Language Catalog Search

ATG (Art Technology Group, NASDAQ: ARTG) announced that it has enhanced ATG Commerce, its commerce and marketing engine, with integrated catalog search. ATG is now leveraging the natural language search technology acquired from Primus to enable integrated, natural language catalog search to allow end users to more quickly and intuitively get to products. With this new capability, which will be available as a part of ATG Commerce 7.1 and requires the purchase of the ATG Search engine, any changes companies make in their ATG Commerce catalog will now automatically update their ATG Search function, with no manual catalog/search integration required. Updates to commerce search can now be made in near real-time (rather than in a batch process), shortening the create-to-publish cycle and allowing more dynamic merchandising initiatives.

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