Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Customer Success - Boston Properties - APOS Administrator & APOS Insight

For public companies, especially ones that are relatively small with limited resources, SOX compliance can be an administrative nightmare.

Boston Properties is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT), and one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of office properties in the United States. As a public company, they have a responsibility under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to establish and maintain internal controls over financial reporting, for which their SAP BusinessObjects system was critical.


One of the internal audit requirements Boston Properties needed to address is to show evidence of all changes to an inventory of key reports. Addressed manually, this requirement would require a labor-intensive audit and re-baselining of these key reports on an annual and sometimes quarterly basis. Boston Properties has a medium-sized IT team, and the challenge of establishing and maintaining this control manually threatened to stretch their limited resources. They needed to implement more efficient report change management processes, and this need triggered a search for a solution.

Complicating this need was the continued proliferation of reports over time. With more than 1,500 reports, IT wanted to re-baseline all reports that were still being actively used and decommission those that were no longer required.

Another challenge for change management was the need to maintain interoperability with other enterprise systems, particularly their ERP system. Upgrades to the ERP system frequently require changes to report parameters. Such changes meant that all affected reports would need to be re-baselined in order to be acceptable to the independent auditors, creating a huge burden for the IT team.

Solution - APOS Administrator & APOS Insight

They began by reducing the size of the problem. They used APOS Insight to take an inventory of their reports and to determine how each report was being used, and whether it was necessary. Then they used the APOS Administratorsolution to decommission approximately 500 of 1,500 report objects almost immediately, and another 400 shortly thereafter, bringing the total number of reports that they had to manage to about 600. With the size of the task thus reduced, they turned to report change management.

APOS Insight allowed Boston Properties to answer key audit questions:

  • Have any financial reports changed?
  • What changed? When were the changes made? By whom?
  • Do the changed reports still produce the same results?
  • Can you prove it?
APOS Insight thus helped them to fulfill a new requirement in 2015 from their independent auditor that had them baselining all control reports each quarter before signing off on financials. This process would have introduced a huge burden to IT. After performing their own tests, the independent audit firm was completely satisfied with the use of APOS Insight to track all changes to control reports.

Insight gives them a running history of changes, ensuring change history is up to date. They are now able to issue a weekly change report without placing a major burden on IT resources. This report plays a significant role in their quarterly controls meetings.

Benefits Realized by Boston Properties

  • SAP BI System Audit
    APOS Insight's metadata management capabilities allowed them to reduce report proliferation. APOS Administrator allowed them to rationalize their report inventory with bulk operations.
  • Historical Analysis
    APOS Insight's History Mode enabled advanced change management capabilities for their internal control reports, showing them what, who, how and when each report was accessed.
  • Audit readiness
    APOS Insight helps Boston Properties maintain audit readiness, establishing trust in their internal controls, and supporting both corporate governance and external audit requirements.


"Any company with SOX requirements or a need to track report change history should consider leveraging a tool such as APOS Insight for this purpose."
David Pigott, Boston Properties

Featured Posts

    Get our newsletter for the latest BI insights and blog posts!




    Post Archive