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Y2K-redux

It’s déjà vu all over again. An imminent early switch to daylight savings time in the US is raising fears of a Y2K-style disruption to date-sensitive computer applications. And the problems could extend far beyond US shores.

Thanks to a new law aimed at saving energy, daylight savings time in the US will start three weeks earlier on 11 March and end one week earlier on 4 November. 

While no-one’s – yet – predicting the fall of civilisation, the switchover to DST is proving a headache for IT staff.  

Quad Cities interviews Mike Bell, an executive vice president with American Bank & Trust Co. He says the bank is currently conducting a series of software tweaks and upgrades, especially for date-stamped automated teller machines.

"We haven't felt any financial impact, just the inconvenience of having to make some maintenance changes," he says.

Within the financial services sector, the change in the clocks is likely to hit time-stamped payment and trading applications, resulting in late payments and/or execution screw-ups. The legions of Blackberry-touting investment bankers could also find their meeting schedules up-the-spout

More worryingly, the problems may not be limited to just US firms. Analyst house Gartner says that any organisation that interacts with US business partners will also need to undertake a review of their time-related exposures.

Gartner research VP Will Cappelli offers this advice to enterprises that have yet to consider the issue. “With so little time available to complete the work, it is inevitable that most organisations will experience a glitch or two. So at the very least organisations should run a communications program for all staff well in advance of the change and support service managers should ensure that they are fully staffed on March 11 and 12.”

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Comments: (1)

John Cant
John Cant - MPI Europe Ltd - London 22 February, 2007, 14:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Indeed it does have impact outside the US. The European CTO of a US HQed hedge fund I was with yesterday was concerned not only about the additional time it would take to perform the changes, but also that not all application patches were available yet.