Twenty-eight out of 30 companies surveyed by Computerworld are prepared for the year 2000.
That’s the finding of the latest Computerworld 1000 survey, in which we asked 30 of the top 1000 companies in New Zealand about the Millennium Bug. Of the 30, only two companies weren’t even at the planning stage — the rest were either identifying problem areas or were already taking the appropriate steps towards fixing the problem.
Tatua Co-operative Dairy’s system manager, David Apimerika, has the problem well in hand although he points to problems with non-IT hardware as being more of an issue for him. Spotting problems in Tatua’s relatively small information system is one thing, but finding them in a refrigeration unit is a different matter. His company is working with the dairy industry and KPMG towards managing the Y2K issue and he is confident it will be able to identify problems long before they cause trouble.
The second question we asked was: “Is your top management aware of the significance of year 2000 preparation?” and again 28 of the respondents said yes. Wool exporter Masurel Fils’ Glenn Spight says it is easier when the management team is small. “There aren’t many of us and we’re aware of it,” he said with a chuckle. Masurel Fils, like the rest of the wool export industry, is reliant on a stock-control system from Australia which is not yet Y2K compliant but will be in the future.
Our third question was: “Does the year 2000 issue mean you will replace your information systems rather than upgrade them?” The majority of respondents will be upgrading as much as possible - 15 answering no - while 11 will be doing some upgrading and some replacing.
The final question we asked was: “Do you think the press and consultants are making too much of the year 2000 problem?” and the respondents were almost evenly split - 15 saying no, 13 saying yes.
Colin McGeorge is the IT manager for Bestwood, a subsidiary of Carter Holt. He believes most New Zealand companies will find the Y2K issue a relatively minor inconvenience.
“Most New Zealand companies are of a moderate size and the systems they’ve got are PC-based,” he says. Bestwood has initiated a Y2K program anyway.
Glen Spight describes the year 2000 issue as “like an earthquake - it’s no problem until it happens. It’s the little things that you’re not prepared for or haven’t thought about.”
As he says, when it comes to the year 2000, “Somewhere someone will have forgotten something.”