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Y2K work may overshadow customer service, HR issues

February 9, 1999
Web posted at: 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT)

by Tom Diederich graphic

(IDG) -- Many large companies scrambling to achieve year 2000 compliance may not be addressing potential customer service and workforce issues, according to a new survey.

The survey results, released today by the Center for Workforce Effectiveness -- a Northbrook, Ill.-based consulting firm -- showed that although 95% of the major corporations polled said they had special teams working on the so-called millennium bug, only 35% of those teams included human resource and customer service experts.

And although 91% of the respondents said they believe that efforts to tackle the computer glitch will expand beyond their information technology departments, 60% of the firms said they were committing the majority of their resources to issues related to technology, operations and financial concerns, the survey said.

The center said it contacted 100 Fortune 500-level companies for the poll by phone, fax and E-mail during the last half of January and that 22 firms responded to the survey.

A bit more than half of the respondents, 55%, voiced confidence that problems related to the year 2000 glitch would be solved before Jan. 1, 2000. However, only 23% acknowledged the possibility that their customers could be impacted by such problems.

Among the companies that admitted they probably wouldn't be fully prepared for next January, 40% said they have started training non-IT personnel on contingency planning skills, and only 20% said they have taken steps to alert customers about the potential problems to come.

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