Companies Reach Out For Y2K Help

The cry for help with Year 2000 compliance has been heard, as evidenced by the increasing use of external service providers being retained to help businesses make the deadline, now just 13 months away.

International Data Corp.’s (Framingham, Mass.) Systems Integration research program reports that almost 70 percent of companies currently using external service providers for their Year 2000 projects plan to continue or increase their use of these organizations.

Retail/wholesale and manufacturing companies whose revenues range from $100 million to $500 million are reported to have the largest number of new users of service organizations.

IDC goes on to report that "most Y2K service providers can count on maintaining or even increasing their services to their Y2K clients after 2000 for applications development or applications maintenance work. Providers servicing the medium- and large-sized companies in the retail/wholesale and manufacturing sectors will have the greatest potential for expansion of services after the turn of the millennium."

IDC’s recent findings coincide with earlier reports that Y2K efforts have resulted in only a minor increase in revenues for hardware and software vendors.

Another IT research and analysis firm, Meta Group Inc. (Stamford, Conn.), found Year 2000 problem solving lagging way behind as late as this summer. According to data from more than 1,600 client companies, Meta research determined that 78 percent of companies are missing "Y2K project milestones," 97 percent have done no contingency planning, 85 percent have underestimated Y2K costs, and 92 percent have not defined business accountability for Y2K initiatives.

A pertinent study conducted last year by the Software Division of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA, Arlington, Va.) investigated concerns about the Year 2000’s fixed deadline, as well as the slowness of firms to respond to their system vulnerabilities, and the affect of this on the ability of commercial Y2K providers to support a large volume of customers.

The ITAA study concluded that the issue of "Year 2000 capacity was perceived in several different ways." While respondents believed the ability of the supplier community to respond to Year 2000 customer requirements was of real concern, these suppliers viewed themselves as having the capacity to handle the crisis.