Meta Group warns to keep year 2000 projects focused
Better to set aside integration issues until y2000 projects get done
Considering the resource strain year 2000 projects pose on IS departments and the short amount of time left to get them done, organizations are well advised not to turn the task into massive projects, or to avoid the 2000 issue by installing new technology, said Barry Wilderman, vice president of Meta Group's Application Delivery Strategies service.
"You've got to take a practical approach and be realistic about what you can accomplish," Wilderman said. "Instead of trying to re-engineer the entire enterprise, companies should think small and adopt a more targeted approach."
First-tier enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors like Baan Co., SAP AG or PeopleSoft Inc. recommend using the year 2000 -- and the changes necessary to account for the forthcoming single European currency -- as a chance to clean house and completely overhaul IS systems. But that approach can be fatal, Wilderman said, given the complexity of integrating an ERP package.
"You are better off giving individual departments or lines of businesses the freedom to pick a smaller package at the divisional level and set aside the integration issue with your ERP backbone until you get the year 2000 projects done," he said.
In light of the need to eventually integrate divisional solutions with a company's ERP backbone, users need to consider which requirements throughout an organization are truly of a global- or company-wide nature.
"Why do you need a ERP package that covers everything when you really only need to maximize distribution [in one country]," he said.
Prioritizing what needs to be part of a 2000 project is critical, Wilderman said. More and more divisions of companies in all industries that are facing budget constraints are trying to label re-engineering projects, or other development work, as 2000 projects.
The 2000 issue is a business issue, not a technology problem, so they need to be exercised with discipline, unburdened by non-value, resource-draining work that can doom the entire effort to failure, Wilderman said.
Torsten Busse is a correspondent for IDG News Service, a SunWorld affiliate.
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