With less than three years to go until the new millennium, a whopping 70 per cent of UK companies have yet to make any serious attempt to ensure their IT systems do not fall over on New Year?s Day 2000.
Next month, Robin Guenier, executive director of Taskforce 2000 - the body set up by the government to raise awareness of the date change problem - will reveal that only 30 per cent of UK organisations have made concerted efforts to address the problem. He will outline findings of a PA Consulting survey of UK companies and how they are handling the problem.
He said: ?The number of companies that have started projects is pitiful. Companies should have started two years ago. The amount of time left is astonishingly short.? He believes systems should be fixed by October 1998 to give plenty of time for amendments and to test-run the new environment for a full year before the date change.
According to PA, systems testing takes up 70 per cent of the entire project time. ?That means companies will only have six months left to do the whole job,? said Guenier.
He advises companies that have yet to begin Year 2000 projects to prioritise their business processes and decide which ones need to be made compliant first. Companies may even need to consider replacing certain software with new packages to ensure business continuity, even though the packages may only do 60 per cent of the work, he said.
The latest survey is published at a time when BT has warned its 1,800 core suppliers that they will be sacked if they cannot show they are Year 2000-compliant. Supermarket chain Sainsbury has set up a free helpline to provide its suppliers with information.
Earlier this month Visa International warned its member banks to check that retailer partners are compliant, or face hefty fines.
Guenier said: ?The Year 2000 problem is made into funny joke stories in the press but it?s much more important than that. It?s more important than BSE.?
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