Considerable progress in addressing the Year 2000 problem has been made by Australian business since October 1998. At the end of June 1999 over one third of all businesses reported that they had completed their Year 2000 work; this represents 61% of the businesses undertaking Year 2000 work. In comparison, only 17% of the businesses undertaking Year 2000 work had completed their work by the end of October 1998.
By the end of June 1999, 61% of all businesses had done an assessment of the likely effect of the Year 2000 problem. Approximately one third of the businesses which did an assessment identified problems that might disrupt the businesses operations. Over 90% of those businesses which identified problems reported that they were taking action on the Year 2000 problem. Over half of the businesses which identified potential problems found that their communications, and accounting and inventory systems were the operations which might be affected.
At the end of June 1999, 44% of all businesses did not intend to undertake any Year 2000 work. Typically these were very small businesses with fewer than five employees and low levels of technology dependence. Of the businesses not intending to undertake any Year 2000 work, 86% reported that they either had no computers or only had a single stand-alone computer. The majority of businesses that did not intend to undertake any Year 2000 work reported that they either did not have any technology that will be affected or they did not believe their business will be affected.
Of the businesses undertaking Year 2000 work, nearly all had started work by the end of June 1999. Virtually all businesses expected to complete their Year 2000 work by December 1999.
Of the businesses undertaking Year 2000 work, 43% had or were developing contingency plans to avoid possible disruptions caused by the Year 2000 problem. This proportion has risen from 25% in October 1998.
By the end of June 1999, just over half of those businesses undertaking Year 2000 work had already sought assurances from their suppliers or service providers regarding continuity of supply. By the end of October 1998, only one third of those businesses undertaking Year 2000 work had sought any assurances.
Australian business expects to spend around $10 billion to address the Year 2000 problem. Approximately 75% of this amount had been spent by June 1999. It should be noted that there are difficulties in producing accurate estimates of Year 2000 expenditure. It is not always possible to separate expenses related specifically to the Year 2000 problem and there is considerable variability in what businesses include as Year 2000 expenditure. For example, some businesses only included direct costs, others made allowances for the wages component of staff undertaking Year 2000 work, while others included associated upgrades of technology as part of their Year 2000 work.