The impact of the emergence of a new largest single currency trading bloc, the European Union, will have on the IT industry won't be easy to predict. However, the January 1st introduction of the euro is certain to cause a headache for Australian programmers and businesses alike.
Currently trying to meet the demand of the market in dire straits over the Y2K compliance deadline, many programmers will have to postpone dealing with companies in need of a "euro solution". And even if they do not, according to Peter Chandler, technical director of Sydney-based Xlprint Software, "it will take years for financial applications for large systems, particularly legacy systems, to be rewritten to account for euros".
Not all Australian companies with European trading partners and subsidiaries will be affected immediately. However, most of them can expect to be asked to start invoicing and accepting invoices in euros any time between now and January 2002, when the national currencies of EU member states will be withdrawn from circulation.
It is in the interim period that programs such as Xlprint Software's Paris, a document system for mainframe data enhancement and printing that allows dual currency printing on the network, will play the double role of "saviour" and "software market star".
Charles Buckles, managing director of Xlprint Software, told ARN his company has witnessed a dramatic increase in sales of Paris since November last year.
"The main reason why people are looking to us is the fact that a lot of them haven't got the time to change their application programs on the host computer," he said.
Running under Windows 95/NT, Paris caters for both fixed and variable exchange rates by taking the data stream from the mainframe or server and implementing a one-time conversion for printing, the company claims.
With Xerox as its main reseller, Paris looks set to be a major winner for Xlprint in its quest for a major piece of the euro-conversion market.
However, for businesses as yet unaware of the implications of the conversion and programmers submerged in solving their Y2K problems, the euro and the GST might well be the next double whammy the IT and business communities will have to face.