Two rival applications houses, JD Edwards and Systems Software Associates (SSA), have launched initiatives to help customers plan for the Millennium and European currency system changes.
JD Edwards has formed a 'Euro Team', a committee to provide information and advice to customers and encourage them to plan early for the changes required to their software. The team, whose members are based in the UK and Denver, Colorado, monitors latest developments in the Euro by liaising with the European Commission and consultancies. It publishes information on its Web site and runs seminars and conferences.
Maurice Belcher, the main consultant on the project in Europe, commented: "We recognise that Euro standards have yet to be fully defined and that there is a need to develop a comprehensive Euro solution."
Over at SSA, the company will implement Euro compliance as an overlay 'Europack'. This is a change in the original strategy to incorporate Euro support in the base product, which would have imposed the feature on US and Asian customers too. "And it can then be thrown away easily when it all changes again in 2002," said regional director Robert Hodge.
SSA will adopt the overlay approach for other system changes, particularly those that are industry-specific. For instance, it will deliver an overlay pack to its electronics manufacturing customers to support new requirements for 35-character item numbers.
On the Year 2000 front, SSA has teamed up with IBM to create a user advisory programme called Agile Link. This offers advice and information to encourage users to formulate a Millennium policy fast. "So many companies have not decided what to do at all," said Hodge.
Although the latest version of SSA's BPCS manufacturing software, release 6.0, is Y2K-compliant, Hodge admits many companies will not be willing or able to go through a major upgrade this side of 2000. For the past few months, SSA has been offering two alternatives to complete upgrade - a conversion to a Y2K dated version of release 4.0 of BPCS, or a toolkit to carry out the date change inhouse.
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