ANZ : Letter to ComputerWorld

Edited text of letter follows:

Mr Costello

I REFER to the article entitled "Bug beleaguered bank bites back spending" in ComputerWorld, March 6, 1998.

It is of concern to us that the article did not accurately reflect ANZ's position on year 2000 and presents a misleading interpretation of the comments made at the recent AIC Conference by Linda Dewar, ANZ's implementation director for the Group 2000 Project.

ANZ's year 2000 project is

tightly controlled and overseen by senior management and the ANZ board who receives frequent reports on progress.

It involves a major program and the total cost to ANZ is likely to be of the order of $200 million.

To ensure your readers are clear on ANZ's position I feel it is important to respond in detail to several of the points made in the article.

* The announcement of redundancies of 1700 staff nationwide will compound the problem of measuring all millennium compliance plans.

This is not correct -- the issues are complet-ely unrelated. The 1700 staff positions referred to are in our retail branch network.

* The millennium compliance work has diverted the bank's focus from projects such as the nationwide rollout of a Mondex electronic cash system.

Year 2000 is one of ANZ's top priorities for the next two years. As a result, some low priority technology development work will be delayed in favour of the year 2000 program.

In relation to Mondex, trials have already commenced with our staff.

* The millennium compliance project is back on track after the team went "off the plan" in September last year.

ANZ's year 2000 project is on or ahead of plan in every major phase.

* Millennium compliance work is not expected to be complete until well after January 1, 2000.

This is completely incorrect. All ANZ's internal systems will be ready for the year 2000 by the end of 1998.

* Staff members are allegedly attempting to pass off non-millennium projects as millennium compliance.

ANZ is clear on its year 2000 projects and separate accounting is maintained.

* The bank does not trust vendors and runs its own tests on products to ascertain compliance.

This is not a question of trust. Year 2000 testing requires that fully integrated systems, including vendor components, are fully compliant.

Similarly, many of the companies that deal with ANZ have required assurances or testing of our own preparedness for year 2000.

David Boyles

Chief information officer

ANZ Banking Group

John Costello replies:

The article reflected exactly what Linda Dewar said. ComputerWorld stands by the direct quotes and statements attributed to Linda Dewar in the article. We invite readers to make up their own minds regarding the interpretation placed on those comments.

ComputerWorld certainly agrees that the 2000 issue is a significant one for our readership and for the wider community. This is why we have reported on the issue as extensively as we have.

We will continue to do so.

Frank comments and plain assessments of the situation such as those made by Linda Dewar can only help raise awareness further.

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