The year 2000 debacle represents a u20 billion opportunity for UK resellers, with end-user companies admitting they are unaware of the likely impact it will have on their businesses. Most also admit they have no contingency plans in place.
This was revealed by a VNU-commisioned survey, by consultancy Spikes Cavell, of 78 finance directors and 194 IT managers in global 5,000 organisations.
The report, sponsored by IBM, found that most companies considered the problem to be a purely IT-related concern with few respondents, whether IT or finance directors, saying they had thought about the impact on general business practices.
The findings also revealed that most users considered the issue to be one which would lead to changes in the pattern of vendor relationships.
The report said: 'It seems probable that when more organisations have sized and costed the problem, and undertaken a detailed business impact analysis, their views may be nearer the opinion stated by a commentator in February of this year; that is, if the year 2000 doesn't put your company out of business, then the cost of the solution will.'
But the opportunities for resellers may be undermined by vendor sluggishness in preparing the channel to take advantage of the market. IBM admitted it had yet to educate its resellers about the issue of year 2000 compliance, but said by the end of 1996 all its products would be compliant.
An IBM representative said: 'We have yet to put a channel plan in place to teach resellers about the year 2000. A strategy has been decided at the top level of the company, but it will be implemented by the different divisions within the organisation.'
The firm conceded its huge installed base of legacy systems meant it could become the victim of a backlash once users were aware of the scale of the problem. A follow-up survey will take place in January 1997.
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