IDC: Millions Will Watch Turn of Millennium from the Office

Joanna Doyle

With the approach of what appears to be the most anticipated second of the last thousand years, millions of people are asking the question “Where will you be when the clock rolls over to 12:00:00 Jan. 1, 2000?” According to a recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC), while revelers worldwide weigh the pros and cons of thousand-dollar galas versus a quiet gathering at home, five million IT professionals know exactly where they will be when Y2K arrives: at work.

As part of Project Magellan, IDC’s study of worldwide Y2K preparations and impact potential, researchers have determined that an estimated five million U.S. workers will be putting in some overtime on New Year’s Eve. Nearly two million of those will be in government jobs, with hundreds of thousands in computer, financial, transportation and health care industries.

Many--but not all--of those required to work extra hours will be IT specialists, according to John Gantz, IDC senior VP, chief research officer and team leader for Project Magellan. Companies are also preparing for possible Y2K glitches by keeping support staff in the office to communicate with customers while the IT staff works to fix any problems.

“Many companies not only have IT staff on hand, but also operations, customer support, security, and even publicity staff.” Gantz said. “… Computer industry staffing is especially heavy, with some of the big companies with tens of thousands of support people on call.”

Worldwide, IDC reports that 72 percent of large companies (more than 500 employees), 43 percent of mid-sized companies (100 to 499 employees), and 25 percent of small companies (1 to 99 employees) plan to have IT staffers on call for New Year’s Eve the early hours of Jan. 1. Of U.S. companies surveyed, 81 percent of large companies, 51 percent of mid-sized companies and 35 percent of small companies will have IT employees on hand as the new year arrives.