Hoping to reduce the impact of the year 2000 computer problem on the high-tech industry, a group of leading IT vendors have joined the High Tech Consortium (HTC), a new non-profit organisation that aims to pool resources and information about the readiness of suppliers who provide crucial components to high-tech companies.
"The HTC is a simple but powerful formula," said Guy Rabbat, HTC executive committee member. The group has brought individual high-tech companies together to form a collaborative framework so that they can access, report and share suppliers' level of Year 2000 readiness and plan for potential disruptions, he said.
The HTC, which was announced yesterday, was first conceived in late 1998 and currently has 28 members, including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, HCL America, Hewlett Packard, IDT, LSI Logic, Motorola, Qualcomm, Quantum, Seagate Technologies, Silicon Graphics, Solectron, Sun Microsystems and Unisys.
The HTC membership is expected to grow, according to Rabbat.
Currently, there are 100 trained assessors from the member companies who, along with audit firms such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Arthur Andersen, will perform the onsite assessments of their suppliers.
The assessment goes through seven phases over two days: business systems; manufacturing, warehousing and service equipment; technical information; end user computing; supplies and service providers; environmental operations and facilities; and products, according to Tom Oleson, research director and IT advisor at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Massachusetts.
When the assessment is complete, the information in stored in a database called the Data Sharing Service that is accessible to all member companies.
There are currently about 200 suppliers that are being assessed by the HTC, according to Oleson. They include 3Com, Cabletron Systems, Lucent Technologies, Intel, National Semiconductor, Oracle and Seagate Technology.
A benefit to suppliers is that the assessment made by HTC can be used to fulfill other companies' requests for its Year 2000 assessment, said Oleson. IDC recommends other industry groups establish similar kinds of external testing.
To join the HTC, there is a $US15,000 fee.