Wednesday April 9 2:59 PM EDT
NEW YORK - Despite widespread attention given to the so-called Year 2000 problem, a poll of Fortune 500 information technology officers shows that less than 13 percent have implemented plans to prevent computer glitches related to reading dates after the turn of the century.
Only 18 percent of those polled have developed a detailed plan to deal with such problems, according to a study conducted last month for Cap Gemini, a consulting firm based in Paris.
The Year 2000 issue has arisen from the fact that many mainframe computers, semiconductors and software programs use only two dates to signify a year. When the year 2000 arrives, those systems will assume the date is 1900.
"The sorry truth is that most corporations still don't have their arms around the problem, and time as well as resources to deal with the problem are quickly running out," said Jim Woodward, senior vice president of Cap Gemini.
The survey of 112 information technology directors and managers in 14 industries was conducted by Rubin Systems.
Of the 18 percent with a plan, about 87 percent aim to out-source the assessment and conversion work, the poll said.
The poll found that 45 percent of the respondents plan to hire additional employees to deal with the problem, and 88 percent of them think it will be difficult to find the staff.
"Staffing issues will become increasingly more difficult, as the labor pool is quickly drying up just as the demand for staff increases," Woodward said.
For 97 percent of those polled, date-conversion work currently represents 20 percent or less of their information technology budget. But 76 percent expect this figure to increase to between 20 percent and 40 percent of the budget in the next three years, according to the poll.
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