Reuters Outlines Its Strategy For Year 2000 Systems Compliance


REUTERS has announced details of its Millennium Compliance Programme. The strategy, which involves the gradual elimination of 10 per cent of Reuters' product line, was unveiled at a conference in London earlier this month.

The vendor has set up a Year 2000 team that will be responsible for ensuring all Reuters' systems, as well as those of subsidiary companies such as Tibco and Instinet, treat dates in the next century correctly.

The Year 2000 problem arises from legacy computer code that only stores the final two digits of a year. Such systems are likely to crash or malfunction come the turn of the century.

As part of its millennium project, Reuters plans to make as many as 100 products obsolete. The vendor has released a list of products that will not be upgraded to cope with Year 2000 and won't be supported after the end of 1999.

The systems due for the chop include Deal Manager, a position keeping system for foreign exchange and money markets trading that once formed part of Reuters' risk management applications strategy (RMO, September 23, 1995).

Deal Manager was previously marketed as Reuters' low-end risk management solution, but the vendor will now concentrate on its other risk management offerings, Kondor+ and Sailfish.

Michael Hudson, director of marketing for Reuters, says the doomed products have been de-emphasized over the years and it should come as no surprise that Reuters wouldn't be supporting them for much longer.

Two year warning

"We are giving advanced warning to our customers," says Hudson. "Two years is plenty of warning."

Reuters is adopting two strategies in its Year 2000 crusade, according to company officials. Some applications will receive an upgrade to become fully Year 2000 compliant.

Others will be equipped with a "pivot date" software patch - the application is told to assume that all dates ending in a number less than 50 are 21st Century dates.

Hudson adds that customers won't be charged extra for the cost of upgrading their Reuters products to Year 2000-compliant versions.

Moreover, all customer upgrades should be completed by the end of next year. "We will be respecting our clients' contracts," says Hudson.

Martin Vickery, international director of the Millennium Compliance Programme, adds that Reuters "will not be assuming that any product is Year 2000 compliant until they get a certificate."

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