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19% of small companies are not concerned by the Year 2000 problem, compared to just 2% of larger firms according to...
19% of small companies are not concerned by the Year 2000 problem, compared to just 2% of larger firms according to a survey by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The overall figures show that larger firms are definitely more advanced in tackling the problem.

BSI's DISC department, which is responsible for standards in information and communications technology conducted the survey. Questionnaires were aimed at senior managers responsible for the Year 2000 problem and were distributed through DISC's customer database.

One district council told DISC that it was difficult to get information from suppliers regarding their conformity plans and costs. A county council also said that they were unable to get reliable information about the year 2000 status of partners, particularly those with embedded systems.

Bearing in mind that this audience is largely IT aware, the results are worrying. Warren Greaves, BSI's Year 2000 product manager said 'I am concerned that despite all the publicity surrounding the 'millennium bug', many companies fail to really understand problem and act on the business implications.'

Results showed that 97% of larger companies were both aware and concerned about the Year 2000 problem and 98% were taking action. Of the smaller companies surveyed, 30% were not even aware of the problem.52% of larger companies admitted that they were facing difficulties compared to just 33% of smaller companies. Also, 74% of larger companies have now realised that they need more help and information compared to just 59% of smaller companies.

These figures indicate that smaller companies will not fully understand the full impact of Year 2000 issues until they do take action. DISC has already produced two documents to help UK businesses.

The first is PD 2000-1 A Definition of Year 2000 Conformity which is a free document. It provides a definition of the expression millennium compliance and the requirements that must be satisfied in equipment and products which use dates and times. The second document is PD 2000-2 A Code of Practice for Small and Medium Enterprises. This document informs business and project managers about the nature of the date change and what they must do to resolve the problem. BSI is committed to offering British companies the support and help they need on the run up to the millennium and beyond.

Over 85% of all the companies surveyed said that they wanted detailed checklists of steps to be taken on the lead up to the Y2000. 60% also wanted case studies of actions taken by other companies and database sources of case study material made available.DISC will be using the survey results to help develop further documents and services to assist UK companies further in tackling the millennium bug.

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