Eagle rails at local year 2000 lethargy

Eagle Technologies head Trevor Eagle says New Zealand business people should "get off their backsides" and get moving on year 2000 future-proofing. Eagle was disappointed at the turnout at a free joint seminar last week organised by Eagle, IBM and the Indian company Kale. "There were about 30 people there," he said after the seminar, "and there should have been 300."

Eagle Technologies head Trevor Eagle says New Zealand business people should “get off their backsides” and get moving on year 2000 future-proofing.

Eagle was disappointed at the turnout at a free joint seminar last week organised by Eagle, IBM and the Indian company Kale.

“There were about 30 people there,” he said after the seminar, “and there should have been 300.”

Eagle believes the private sector could well take a lead from a recent government initiative to make state- sector CEOs responsible for ensuring system stability over the year 2000 and he also believes the cost of such activity may cut into funding available for new IT initiatives.

He does not, however, favour a legislative response as is being talked about in the United Kingdom, believing it is a matter of corporate responsibility.

To that end Eagle is developing a consortium to provide end-to-end year 2000 solutions using the resources of Bombay-based Kale to do the actual coding. He is also talking to ITANZ with regard to a US certification scheme to provide warranties for the work done and will be talking with offshore insurers to provide further security. Eagle believes there is a great opportunity buried in the Y2K conundrum in that it is an opportunity for corporates to audit and cleanse their systems, from which they can then embark directly on projects such as data warehousing.

Prakash Alkutkar, the general manager of Kale who was here for the seminar, says there are simply not enough programmers to do all the work required and his company is expecting its staff to be “block-booked” on projects through to the mil-lenium. It could become a case of first in, first served.

Alkutkar says there is no panacea to the problem. “Y2K projects are a process where it can’t simply be [completely] outsourced. There will be joint work.”

Kale, a $US27 million company employing around 1000 staff, is currently providing man-power to Air New Zealand in a two-year Oracle development.

Alkutkar says there can be an initial barrier in getting customers to hand work to a company 6000 miles away and the process for doing so can take a while to settle.

“But people are starting to do it and it’s partly because they have no other choice. Nobody else wants to do this kind of work.”

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