Dangerous complacency is setting many companies on course for euro disaster, it is feared.
Research experts at Meta Group and Amdahl subsidiary DMR have issued a warning to businesses in the UK, Europe and the US, that most have failed to recognised the euro is no longer just about fixing IT systems.
Uncertainty over UK EMU entry, board level scepticism over the euro, Year 2000 demands and poor understanding of the complex impact of the euro have left many companies euro paralysed or complacent, it is claimed.
Organisations are polarising into Eurozone 'leaders' and 'laggards', with Meta research predicting up to 85 per cent currently on course to do little until just before 2002, when national currencies are abolished in first wave EMU countries.
If that trend continues then it may well be too late to avert serious market share upheaval, with laggards expected to lose up to 30 per cent of their business - much of it to innovative leaders which recognise the euro as a business opportunity.
"Some may well be in a position that they're going to have difficulty carrying on business," according to Meta's snterprise strategies program director, Rakesh Kumar, who fears SMEs and the manufacturing sector are at greatest risk.
"Phase A of the euro in January 1999 was too successful, promoting a high degree of dangerous complacency. Organisations feel Phase A was an IT issue, they had a very successful transition, will sort Y2K out and life goes on as normal. Major, major problem," said Kumar.
Meta believes in the next two years company euro project teams must switch from being technology led and operationally focused, to outward facing, entrepreneurial and strategic planning led. IT managers must start to adapt these changes today or face loss of business.
"The euro project team needs to be lead by the business planning people. IT needs to be involved but it is a new business issue," said Kumar.
IT services and management consultancy firm DMR's director Paul Bradish added: "If Y2K was akin to putting a plaster over the problem, 2002 is like doing open heart surgery in the back of an ambulance doing 60mph over a cobbled road - it's that complex and difficult."
"'Companies aren't doing enough. It really is time for a wake up call. That will probably come after Y2K has finished, when people will realise they've only got 22 months to get from start to close. For some it just won't be enough. Some people are going to be definite losers on this," he added.
Meta's research suggests many initiatives, such as ecommerce adoption and supply chain integration, were pushed back because of initial euro conversion and Year 2000 work, but now the euro is set, "to give these projects a great big kick up the bum. It will force them to go live much earlier," according to Kumar.
This in turn presents further potential problems, putting IT resources and skills under greater strain.
Both Meta and DMR dubbed current UK government efforts to address the UK skills shortage as "naïve" and are not convinced Y2K teams can simply be switched to tackle the euro.
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