Global trade management (GTM) systems traditionally have focused on helping organizations comply with the myriad regulations governing how components and products cross borders. While compliance remains a key feature, many GTM systems providers are adding new capabilities. Some GTM systems, for instance, have broadened the concept of compliance to include checking that products were made, packaged, and/or shipped within the user's parameters.

While larger companies, often in heavily regulated industries, tend to be among the first to leverage shifts in the GTM market, small firms aren't left out of the picture. Many start by implementing specific modules, such as those that screen potential business partners against terrorism watch lists. "The ROI threshold to purchase the software keeps dropping," says Virginia Thompson, vice president of product management for compliance software provider Integration Point.

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