What you need to know
THE most important issue facing business executives is finding out exactly how the millennium bug will affect their companies.
"If management doesn't know how widespread the problem is and doesn't start addressing it right away, they risk losing their businesses," says Karl Feilder, CEO of Greenwich Mean Time and year 2000 expert.
Here are some of the most important things Feilder says business leaders need to know about the millennium bug:
ý Don't panic. While 2000 is an unavoidable deadline, the problem is finite;
ý Directors are liable. The potential for disaster on January 1, 2000 is well known and executives who ignore this may be considered negligent when systems fail;
ý An action plan is essential. Without a plan the company's auditors, bankers and insurers may withdraw their support;
ý The domino effect. Regardless of an organisation's own year 2000 status, it is at risk if its customers and suppliers are at risk;
ý There is no quick fix. While tools exist to speed up the process, none will automatically solve it at the software and data levels;
ý Focus on business, not IT, survival. Make a backup plan, which can be as simple as making sure that you have printed copies of every document you use;
ý Budget now, otherwise bonuses, profits and share price will certainly be affected;
ý No one cares as much about your business as you do. It is up to you to solve the problem; and
ý Do not bet your business on worthless promises. Regardless of what IT suppliers say about the compliance of their systems, get it in writing. Then ignore it and get on with establishing the exact year 2000 status of your business for yourself.