Action on the so-called "millennium bug" seems to be heating up, with Azimuth Consulting launching, in consultation with the University of Auckland and the Gartner Group, a Year 2000 think-tank.
The think-tank is an invitation-only programme for senior IT executives and management and the first meeting was hosted by Dr Jim Sheffield of the university's decision support centre. It included representatives from the banking, energy, telecommunications, health and government sectors.
The group has decided the main issue to be addressed is one of corporate risk management. Bruce Hall, US-based Year 2000 research director for the Gartner Group, said by teleconference that insurers in the US have decided that the risks involved in Year 2000 system failures are now well known and that any such failures would not be treated as an "act of God" for insurance purposes. The Insurance Council of New Zealand is adopting a similar approach. (See Insurers shun)
He also said that because it was a question of risk management, and not just a technical problem, chief exective-level involvement in planning is vital.
John Good, a senior consultant at Azimuth, says more meetings and workshops will follow and he hopes a network will result between the participants in the think-tank and other groups. He says the meeting indicated New Zealand was in tune with global perspectives on the issue, in that the effect of the year 2000 on business infrastructures could well be more important than the particular year 2000 problems an organisation might face.
He says the university sees itself as a neutral research facility within the group and that Azimuth will be playing an enabling role.