Don't waste benefits of Y2K, firms warned

Year 2000 projects have not only made old systems handle the date change but also laid the foundations for better relationships...

Year 2000 projects have not only made old systems handle the date change but also laid the foundations for better relationships with senior managers and for preparations for e-commerce and the euro, writes John Kavanagh

These are the findings of UK firm Insight Consulting, which is urging companies not to waste the benefits of year 2000 spending.

"One of the least publicised yet most important benefits from the exercise has been increased awareness and understanding of IT as a strategic boardroom issue," says Insight partner Ian Glover.

"Senior managers now have a better understanding of the processes which are core to the organisation and, in particular, they now appreciate the importance of business continuity management.

"The structures and processes put in place to involve senior management should be maintained."

Glover says that as a result of year 2000 preparations companies should have accurate inventories of all equipment and systems in order of importance to the business. Duplicate, redundant or non-critical equipment can now be removed.

Similarly, business impact and risk analyses will have highlighted vulnerabilities in technology, services and business processes, and these can now be worked on, he says.

Internal and external relationships can also be improved. "The clarification of inter-departmental and third-party relationships and responsibilities will enable better supply chain management and provides the opportunity for rationalisation, partnership or outsourcing," says Glover.

"At the same time, improved communication with clients, suppliers and other stakeholders should be used to improve confidence in the company."

Glover says that the discipline applied to meeting the strict year 2000 timetable can now be beneficially transferred to other transition projects, from introducing new technologies, e-commerce and the euro to company takeovers and office moves.

"Organisations that have managed their year 2000 planning well will be better placed to implement e-commerce with the necessary resilience and security," says Glover.

"At the same time, senior management's enhanced understanding of the organisation's key business processes will be critical in implementing organisation-wide changes to meet new regulatory requirements."

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