A UK information technology (IT) management consultancy says that companies should not waste the information benefits of their Y2K experiences, since the lessons learned from preparing for the December 31, 1999 date change can easily be applied to the world of e-commerce.
The firm, Insight Consulting, says that there is a definite need for businesses to recognize the “wealth of information” they have acquired as a result of recent Year 2000 continuity planning.
“In addition to limiting the potential risk to IT and related systems, one of the most important — though less publicized — benefits accruing from this estimated $450 billion (US$) investment has been the increase in awareness and understanding of IT as a strategic boardroom issue,” said Ian Glover, a partner with the company.
Glover argues that, as a direct result of Y2K planning, many senior managers now have a better understanding of the processes which are core to the organization and of the broader importance of business continuity management.
In addition, he said, structures and processes put in place to involve senior management in the effective invocation of business continuity plans should be maintained to ensure the effective running of the business in the event of a major disruption.
Against this backdrop, he said, companies should now have complete and accurate inventories of all equipment, systems, applications and properties prioritized in order of importance to the business.
Glover went on to say that the business impact and risk analyses carried out as a result of Y2K planning will have highlighted vulnerabilities in technology, infrastructure service, and business processes that must be addressed.
Applying this knowledge to e-commerce systems is a logical move, Insight says, as the consequences of the failure of the systems supporting e-commerce could be severe, including substantial financial loss, embarrassment, and loss of credibility or goodwill for the organization concerned.
Glover said that organizations that have managed their Y2K planning well, will be better placed to implement an e-commerce system with the necessary resilience, security, and business continuity.
“At the same time, senior management’s enhanced understanding of an organization’s key business processes will be critical in implementing organization-wide changes to meet regulatory requirements and guidelines,” he said.