Logica sees light in Y2000 tunnel

Year 2000 will not be doom and gloom for small and medium-sized firms, as many consultancies have predicted, if firms concentrate on how they update business data, rather than focusing on software issues, according to IT consultancy Logica.

“We have put together a flexible response to the data issue for firms, that, for 500 PCs, will take weeks rather than months to implement,” said Adrian Cole, business development manager on the Millennium Services Group.

“We are not talking about large-scale implementations, we are talking about very tightly focused activity that is repeatable, very aggressive on pricing and very quick.”

The firm has a developed a tool that can scan database and spreadsheet files, and flag two digit formats that could prove to be a problem. The tool is based on the results of Year 2000 compliance tests carried out on all retailer J Sainsbury’s PC software. It found that, of 26 packages tested, only two will not function in the Year 2000.

“In all the cases the date looked funny on the screen, but that will not stop you using it in the Year 2000,” said Cole. “Netware 3.11 won’t work beyond the millennium, and neither will Lotus Organiser because the calendar only goes up to the end of January 2001.”

The two firms, which have just published a report through Action 2000, say that the business function rather than IT departments should address data problems.

Cole said that the Year 2000 problems SMEs face can be resolved if they look at how they are using the data within their packages.

“Most packages will assume that two digit dates are between 50 years ago and 50 years ahead. They will be able to handle the century roll-over from 1999 to 2000 if you move the goalposts so that packages assume the century starts in 1950,”said Cole. “It is a question of going through the spreadsheets and databases to check the data, rather than worrying about the package.”

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