Euro fear may mask a real issue - fraud

Euro migration is being touted as the new Y2K with fraud thrown in for interest, and could cost companies fives times as much as the millenium bug, according to analysts

A raft of hype about euro conversion problems may blind them to real problems during the transition, especially fraud. Complicated conversions, where new processes are installed and errors may occur, will provide opportunities for fraudulent staff to divert money, say software vendors. Efforts have been made to build up the euro conversion as a hazard for IT managers: Forrester Research has estimated that the changeover could cost some companies five times the price of tackling the millennium bug, and anti-euro campaigners have included a large figure for IT costs in their £30bn estimate of the cost of changing over. However, other analysts, including Gartner, have dismissed the fears as "over-hyped", and user confidence backs this up, for example in a reader poll on ZDNet. Fraud could be carefully planned or carried out by opportunists, warned Henri Ainouze of e-business solutions provider Sapiens, speaking to ZDNet UK. Because of the difficulties in understanding inconsistencies after migration, detecting such fraud could be difficult. "Each time you open your system to conversion there is a possibility of fraud. You have to be able to justify each and every discrepancy." The key factor to a successful migration is planning. Sapiens recommends two approaches, the "big bang" or the "long bang". Smaller companies, or those with fewer systems to consolidate, may be able to get away with a "big bang", completing the conversion over a short period of time, while companies with a large amount of disparate systems may require a "long bang", taking care to ensure consistency. Whatever approach is chosen an extended analysis phase is important, said Ainouze. In order to decide which approach to take Ainouze advised "You have to think about this project like an insurance policy -- invest a little bit in order to sleep well." While Ainouze was not aware of any company going out of business as a result of the euro migration, he pointed out that "no companies have even gone through a month-end yet, these effects are going to trickle through."


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