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Y2K doesn't scare messaging systems

Although a recent survey finds that companies expect messaging systems to be impacted by the Y2K bug, the threat isn't slowing down any projects underway.

Although a recent survey finds that companies expect messaging systems to be impacted by the Year 2000 technology problem, the threat isn't slowing down any projects underway.

The survey, "Year 2000 Issues for Messaging Systems," conducted by intranet consulting and market research firm Creative Networks (CNI), finds that as many as 72 percent of organizations said there will be no Y2K freeze on messaging infrastructure projects started before 1999.

The Y2K problem, however, is still viewed by most organizations as an "extremely important" problem for messaging systems, such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Mail and Exchange.

CNI surveyed 39 organizations between June and August 1998, with a mean employee base of around 2,700.

The survey respondents used a host of different messaging systems, including Microsoft Mail, Exchange, Lotus cc:Mail, Notes, Sun Mail, All-In-One, VMS Mail, and Divinchy Mail.

The survey also looked at corporate perceptions of the Y2K problem, budget issues, impact assessment, and risk factors.

The Year 2000 problem, also known as the millennium bug, stems from an old programming shortcut that used Back to Year 2000 Index Page only the last two digits of the year. Many computers now must be modified or they may mistake the year 2000 for the year 1900--and may not be able to function at all, causing widespread disruptions in services in the transportation, financial, utility, and public safety sectors, observers warn.

The survey found that Y2K is viewed by most organizations as an "extremely important" problem for messaging and other elements of the computing infrastructure, and most IS/IT decision-makers believe that their organizations are at risk from unresolved Y2K issues.

Many decision-makers also believe that senior management is still not fully aware of the impact that Y2K will have on their organization.

The respondents on the part of end-user organizations were only slightly confident that software vendors will be able to resolve Y2K problems in their products by the deadline date.

According to the survey, respondents thought desktop applications, messaging systems, and calendaring and scheduling systems would be affected most by the Y2K bug.

Although many organizations believe that they face problems from the millennium bug, most of them did not start working on the Y2K problem until 1997 or 1998.

The survey also found that a growing portion of IS/IT budgets is dedicated to Y2K-related issues, increasing from 9.1 percent of the average IS/IT budget in 1998 to 9.4 percent in 1999. In-house staff accounts for two-thirds of Y2K related IS/IT budgets.

Interestingly, the impact of Y2K-related work on non-Y2K work is increasing. In 1997, Y2K-related work impacted non-Y2K projects by 6.3 percent, which will grow to 12.9 percent in 1998 and 18.8 percent in 1999.

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