Year 2000, Internet top IT managers' wish list for 1998

Senior IS managers rate Internet and intranet development, Y2K, and improved vendor products and relationships as key priorities for 1998.

In a straw poll conducted by ComputerWorld, managers said Internet and intranet development was crucial to business development; millennium compliance would throw up a range of resource, legal and timing challenges; and work would continue on enhancing vendor products and relationships with the user community.

National Rail's general manager, information systems, Peter Nevin, said the "second wave" of millenn-ium problems would start to kick in towards the end of the year, affecting applications with a 12-month horizon.

"There will be a lot of panicky IT managers out there towards the end of 1998," Nevin said.

On the Internet and intranet front, many companies are upgrading already existing Web sites and networks, while others are making the move to cyberspace with Internet and intranet connections.

Ceramics manufacturer Carborundum Australia, for instance, is concentrating on establishing e-mail and Internet systems to cut costs.

By setting up on a server, internal costs will be cut, making operations a lot cheaper, said Brad Hannaford, Carborundum's information systems manager. Francis Young, computer programmer, Joyce Mayne, said the Internet would be a big area for the furniture specialist in 1998. "Each company has to decide what role the Internet does or doesn't have to play in its business."

According to Young, the main priority for Joyce Mayne stores is the continued implementation of an online service to advertise products and assist customers with enquiries and "comparison shopping".

Nevin expects the Internet will continue to make significant inroads into corporate IS environments.

With the new millennium fast approaching, IT managers have put pressure on vendors to produce high-quality, reliable, cost-effective, Y2K-compliant products.

"We are looking for vendors to deliver timely, reliable systems with reliability the key element," said Frank Lee, applications analyst, Freedom Furniture. "We also want value for money."

Several managers expressed concerns over the quality of products and software delivered to users. They suggested the lack of suitably qualified people was having an impact on the industry and on the quality of work produced.

"There are too few good people around for the jobs available. Year 2000 is dragging good programmers away," said Fabian Abel, IT administrator, Proton Cars.

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