Users are skipping dress rehearsals for the millennium that can expediently expose gaps in business continuity planning that need closing.
According to millennium watchdog Action 2000 many businesses are foregoing testing workarounds and are at risk of missing danger points which can be corrected through undergoing a Year 2000 business continuity check.
A spokesperson for Action 2000 said: "Many businesses, especially smaller ones, are complacent about it, but it's imperative that companies have a workaround or millennium operating regimes. Unfortunately they're not so hot on this issue."
Sainsbury's has undergone two days devoted to Year 2000 business continuity planning and learned invaluable lessons.
Bob Hammersley, IT services manager, said two offsite days attended by the IT team, senior business people and some directors helped define responsibilities and revealed holes.
The first day early in September "exposed gaps," said Hammersley. "There was too much reliance on day to day communication and the assumption that people will be in place as they are on a normal working day."
The second day was an opportunity to close the gaps. "We are now much clearer about the chain of command. We know who should be in place, we have a network of contacts at home who are on a rota, and we know who else to contact if needs be."
Hammersley said the first day exposed other problems such as "off the cuff responses to a difficult combination of circumstances" which was corrected at the second meeting.
The Metropolitan Police have also played their part in helping Sainsbury's address the possible scenario that parts of London are closed.
"They lent us an officer to help us simulate how we would respond if there was an incident. There is now much greater knowledge on both sides of the fence," said Hammersley.
He added: "We have learned a lot and are much happier about having the right management process in place. I would urge other businesses which are intending to do a dress rehearsal to get on and do it."
Analyst firm Gartner Group said recently that too few companies were properly prepared for the millennium rollover period. Lou Marcoccio, Gartner analyst, said companies should establish an event management centre to coordinate the response to problems.
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