Quality assurance and compliance software is used to test and inspect products and processes. These software packages are designed for activities such as compliance monitoring, project management, and product or system certification.
Typically, quality assurance software (QA software) is used by companies that are seeking certification with standards bodies such as the International Standards Organization (ISO), or that need to comply with requirements from regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Suppliers of quality assurance and compliance software may serve a variety of industries, or design their products for specific applications. For example, QA software for the automotive industry may include compliance-monitoring features for AS-9000, a set of guidelines and requirements published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and/or for QS-9000, a quality standard for suppliers of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors. Quality assurance and compliance software for medical, pharmaceutical, and military-related applications is also available.
Quality assurance and compliance software helps organizations adhere to existing and emerging safety and security regulations. Some compliance software contains integrated modules for financial reporting, business process analysis, content management, and documentation. In this way, organizations can better track and report information to regulatory bodies, reducing the risk of non-compliance. There are many compliance software packages designed for specific regulatory issues, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). One commonly-used category of quality assurance and compliance software is for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety protocols. OSHA compliance software can include everything from generic reporting capabilities to industry-specific applications, such as monitoring levels of toxic substances to generating material safety data sheets. Typically, OSHA quality assurance and compliance software includes the ability to produce OSHA- or state agency-specific forms and reports.
Selecting Quality Assurance Compliance Software
Selecting quality assurance and compliance software requires an analysis of product specifications and features. Common operating systems include Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Solaris and SunOS. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group. Solaris and SunOS are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Per-seat cost and the availability of on-site training are also important considerations when selecting quality assurance and compliance software.