Two influential UK IT bodies have issued a code of practice for testing systems and software for Year 2000 compliance.
The code, aimed at users and product suppliers, was announced by the Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA) and the National Computing Centre (NCC) last week.
The document outlines the minimum activities and checks that should be applied when testing for Year 2000 conformity. According to Rob Wirszycz, director general of the CSSA, the code of practice extends the British Standards Institute's definitions of compliancy for software products.
Early next month, the CSSA plans to launch a full range of documents and services to help end users clarify whether their suppliers and their software are millennium-compliant.
Among the documents is a guide to establish a universal definition of compliancy. The CSSA will also introduce the IT Association of America's scheme, which certifies companies, products and processes for conformity.
Wirszycz dismissed concerns that the scheme is too late to be useful, when most experts are warning that evaluation and testing should already be well under way by now. "This is right timing," he said. "We've been working since the beginning of the year to come up with a complete set of actions to provide assurance to end users and the industry."
By following these guidelines, suppliers will be able to state that they comply with the code of practice for their company and their products, and their self-certification will appear on a public database. End users and the industry will also be fully informed of what exactly is meant by suppliers' claims of "Year 2000 compliancy" and "millennium-ready".
"People are looking for Year 2000 assurance from their IT suppliers but, with each vendor working to a different set of criteria, that has been difficult," Wirszycz added. "This code of practice ensures an instantly understood definition of a Year 2000-tested product. Now, by testing to this standard, software suppliers will be able to give their customers a quantifiable answer to the question, 'Is your software Year 2000-compliant?'"
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