A bid by networking vendor 3Com to drum up business around the millennium has backfired, exposing the company's own dread of a downturn in business caused by Year 2000.
Research published today by Aspect Consulting, commissioned by 3Com, reveals that 25 per cent of top 1,000 UK businesses are planning a ban on IT projects for six to 18 months around the millennium.
3Com says companies are putting the embargo in place because of their worries about Y2K and says they may lose competitive advantage to companies less concerned about the date change.
But 3Com has also been forced to admit that the whole UK IT industry, including 3Com, should be wary of the findings and prepare for a tough time next year.
"Obviously we have to be mindful of this [survey] in terms of planning out various different goaling cycles," said Neil Kinder, technical director at 3Com UK.
"We're anticipating that there are people out there with a nervousness. What we have to do is install confidence in those customers," said Kinder.
3Com hopes to install this confidence by ensuring its customers that its products are Y2K compliant. Failure to change the minds of the 25 per cent of unconvinced businesses identified by the survey will have wide reaching consequences, Kinder said.
"The consequences are essentially that there is clearly a potential impact on the UK economy as a whole," he said. This includes impact on vendors, systems integrators and systems integrators' suppliers, he added.
Separately, 3Com announced a new customer who for obvious reasons won't be holding back from IT investment ahead of the millennium. The New Millennium Experience Company, the company behind the Millennium Dome, has awarded a £3 million networking contract to Workplace Technologies - which will use 3Com's ATM technology.
Workplace is building an ATM network spanning the entire Dome campus that will support critical functions such as ticketing, administrative back office functions, electronic point of sale, Internet access and the Dome Intranet. The network will also function as a telephone network, supporting voice over IP, and will carry high definition video around the campus.
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