European governing bodies have been "dismally awful" at educating users and vendors on the impact of the euro, according to a leading industry expert.
Speaking at Dataquest Predicts 99 in Paris today, Gartner Group analyst Nick Jones said that he believed that European governments, along with the European Commission, have been "terrible" at providing information on what joining European Monetary Union (Emu) would really mean for businesses.
"In fact, some of the industry has been better at providing information than the government. Some French supermarkets have been very good and it's paradoxically strange that the Bank of England has plenty of available information on Emu," said Jones.
He said that over the next few years, European organisations will be spending between $150 billion and $400 billion on changing IT systems in preparation for Emu.
However, he said that many user organisations currently have no idea how much of their total IT budget will be spent on euro conversion.
"This is just the estimated cost of actually doing the work, not a market size," he said.
"We carried out a survey at the end of last year among large European corporations and over half of those questioned had no idea what they were going to spend. Only five to 10 per cent of those questioned were fully embracing the euro at this time and taking advantage of the business opportunities," he said.
"Around 30 per cent were planning on converting their base accounting systems to the euro this year and the rest are still looking into it," he continued.
Jones advised UK users to begin planning their euro conversion projects as soon as possible.
"The UK will probably have a two year cut out period and organisations will have one year to complete projects from the point at which they know the UK is entering. Companies need to do up-front work now so that when the business says go, then the IT department has one year to do the work," he concluded.
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