IT news: Euro takes back seat in City IT

The race to ensure City IT systems are millennium compliant has led to euro issues taking a back seat, according to European IT services group CMG. Of the IT managers surveyed, 80 percent considered the bug problem to be their first or second priority for the year. Only 29 percent saw the euro as a top priority.

The millennium race countdown, suprisingly, will not see a widespread increase in IT budgets for the year. Only 32 percent of IT budgets for 1999 will increase, with 29 percent of respondents actually reporting a decrease in expenditure for the year. This is coupled with staffing levels in the majority of companies remaining static.

The apparent laxity in dealing with euro issues is thought to be a short-term issue due to the complexity of the millennium problem. CMG suggests that once millennium projects have been completed the race will start to ensure euro compliance for the UK’s anticipated entry into monetary union in 2002.

Chris Brown, head of CMG’s banking division in the UK, said: “Not suprisingly, the Year 2000 is still high on the short-term agenda for IT departments in the banking sector. But it is obviously alarming that 5 percent of the survey have not yet started on this issue.”

A study by Inter-Continental Hotels suggests that it is not only IT departments lacking in euro awareness. A survey of business travellers in Europe found that one in five didn’t realise that the euro was electronically introduced this year. Less than half of those living outside the new eurozone were aware that euro currency and cheques were being introduced in 2002. There was also confusion about the number of countries in the first wave of the euro, with only six out of 10 aware of the correct number.

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