PraxIS May 2001

Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success

Systems Modelling Ltd.


Welcome - please read YahooGroups announcement

Euro features

TAS Books Accounting euro converter for BASDA accreditation
EuroBarometer surveys: Attitudes to the EU
SME euro planning and preparation survey
Quarterly Review Of The Use Of The Euro Fourth Quarter 2000
Good practice to promote consumers' familiarity with the euro
Conference: How to handle the most difficult changeover problems
Euro Risk Management and Contingency planning 
Europaper 42: EMU: The First Two Years 
Media focus on software conversion assurances


Hackwatch reports more dot-bombs
Automated spam reporting 
A free web site monitoring service

Information Security

Microsoft security fixes infected with FunLove virus 

Software Quality

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

On the lighter side

28 Web links in this newsletter

About this newsletter, Feedback, and Archives


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Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

Euro Features

BASDA EMU Accreditations

I am pleased to announce that I have recommended the TAS Books Accounting Plus [7] euro base currency converter for BASDA Full EMU accreditation. They join SquareSum plc [8] and  Exchequer Software [9]. Getting BASDA accreditation is not easy. It requires the software supplier to prepare comprehensive user documentation, submit the euro impact analysis for the software to a quality audit, and undergo a rigorous testing process of the accounting changeover that probes the data conversion method. For more information, see BASDA [4] > "Accreditations" > "EMU Accreditation"

Are you sure your software applications can support all the requirements for the business changeover to the euro? Get an independent assessment on their "compliance" or "euro-readiness" with our euro software certification service. [6]

European Commission Surveys

Eurobarometer [10] (Eurobarometre) 
The "Euro Barometer" reports regular surveys on attitudes to the EU and the euro. Eurobarometer survey No 54, [11] "Attitudes to the EU" which was conducted in November and December 2000 showed that those most positive about membership of the European Union are Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands. Support for a single currency had dropped to 3% to 47% in Germany by last November; it is only 45% in Finland. 

Flash Eurobarometer 91:  SME euro planning and preparation [12] EOS Gallup Europe interviewed 2828 business managers between 8th and 15th January 2001. Since September, the number of action plans agreed on by companies has increased. By contrast, their actual implementation is not much more advanced than it was four months ago. Out of those SMEs that claim they are "already prepared" and which have prepared an action plan, only one-third have implemented the whole of the measures planned; and there were even 7% who apparently had not implemented any of the measures planned at the time this survey was conducted...

It would appear that not all firms have really grasped the implications of the introduction of the euro on 1 January 2002. A large number of the firms polled are planning to make the switch at the last minute, and some of them even think that they can wait until after 1 January 2002 so that they can work exclusively in euros. The answer "after 1/1/2002", represented 6% of opinions in September and now represents 12% today. With the sole exception of the Netherlands, all countries saw the number of these answers increase, especially in France (+12%), Italy (+13%), Ireland and Portugal (+10%).

As a result of these surveys, the Commission has issued a 'Get ready now for euro' [13] call to SMEs. Economic Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes and Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen are now urging all firms in the euro area, including very small ones, to take steps to be able to work exclusively in euros from 1 January 2002. In a joint statement, they said that "firms have made real advances in their preparations but a sizeable number are still not alive to the need for such preparations, are not clear about the timing and are failing to take the measures that will get them ready in time".

Quarterly Review Of The Use Of The Euro Fourth Quarter 2000 (PDF) [14] Brussels, 22 February 2001. Apart from firms in Portugal, Luxembourg and Belgium, few companies have switched to euro accounting (less than 1% in most of the participating countries).  52% of firms (compared with 45% in the last review) state that they have started setting prices in euros and 12% systematically invoice in euros. It is difficult to say just how many firms have switched over to euro accounting. They may set prices and issue invoices in euros while continuing to keep their accounts in national currency. The authorities presume that firms making VAT returns in euros have switched over to euro accounting and obtain in this way a fairly reliable estimate. Few firms have switched over to euro accounting to date.

Good practice to promote consumers' familiarity with the euro and to facilitate the introduction of euro coins and banknotes in 2002. [15] This joint statement was issued on 2 April by representatives of consumers and representatives of traders and SMEs. It gives ten examples of useful measures that can be taken after 1 January 2002 and a report on the preparations for the introduction of euro notes and coins. Here is its list of ten examples of useful measures that can be taken before 1 January 2002:

Distributing widely among small traders tools for calculating change 
Devising and distributing simple tools for estimating cash requirements
With the customer's agreement, handing out kits of euro coins along with change during the last few days in December 
Allowing employers to distribute kits of euro coins as a free gift to their staff 
Loading cash dispensers with smaller denominations of national banknotes during the final days of December 
Loading cash dispensers in advance with euro notes 
Sending specialists to explain on the spot to traders the arrangements for the changeover to the euro 
Writing to all businesses to remind them of their obligations 
Organising operations to simulate euro payments 
Involving all local actors in euro information campaigns euro payments tracker.
The Euro-Tracker [16] is a monitoring tool for euro cross-border Eurocard-MasterCard activity, based on live data and updated on a monthly basis. It was created to identify the key trends on euro payments made with Eurocard-MasterCard cards.

New on the FEE euro website

Risk Management and contingency planning (PDF) [17] my article on anticipating and avoiding risks in the euro changeover.

Changing over payroll to the euro early [18] a short questionnaire. 

Europapers: Europaper 42: EMU: The First Two Years (PDF) [19] March 2001

Economic situation and economic policy achievements and challenges
Economic policy co-ordination : meeting new challenges
The euro exchange rate and external aspects of EMU
EMU and the EU financial system
Preparation for completing the changeover to the euro
State of the preparations and main operations in progress
Principal guidelines for the coming months

FEE Euro conference Brussels May 28-29 How to handle the most difficult changeover problems. For further information phone: +44 20 8667 1144 Fax: +44 20 8681 8058; E-mail: euro.fee(at)ipf(dot)co(dot)uk.

This year is the last chance for companies to make the euro changeover, so we remind you of our consultancy services in euro training [5], euro compliance software testing and BASDA certification [3], and the book+CD on euro conversion [1], to help you succeed!

Last month I reported that with the exception of Ireland, every country has prepared small starter kits of coins which consumers can purchase, but none had so far envisaged making coins available in loose form. I now see from the ECBI [21] that they will be on sale in December. Now all we have to do is get people to buy and use them rather than only keeping them as souvenirs!

In April, I did an analysis of the cash requirements for a supermarket. Normally they would have a float of 5% of turnover. The first week in 2002 is looking like 50%. A graph of float needed against maximum change size given is particularly useful. How many customers can they afford to upset? Or can they find some other way of cashing cheques for people who are paid by cheque but don't have bank accounts? There are interesting decisions to be made.

Excel Euro Bug [22]
 XL97: Excel Interprets Euro Values as Text (MS Bug Knowledgebase). To look for more issues, search the knowledgebase for these additional query words: excel97 xl97 euro problems.

Media coverage

The Sunday Business Post Online (Ireland) has updated its Euro section. It features a number of my articles in its Eurozone.[23]

Many of the readers of this newsletter provide euro advice and services to business. Why not give yourself some heavyweight support by giving your clients a copy of my book+CD "Managing the euro in information systems: strategies for success" [1]



Hack Watch News [25], the Irish tech news agency, continues to report on closures, some in sorrow, some in schadenfreude. Recent regretted closures include Industry Standard Europe and  Oniva - good products and people. 

Useful tools

SpamCop [24] is a useful service to automate the reporting of unwanted commercial email. Simply copy and paste the offending email with all its headers into a form on the web site. Their software does the tedious job of parsing out originating addresses, doing IP lookups to screen out the cloaked addresses and DNS lookups to find site administrators. Then it presents you with a form to report the spam to the originators and the abuse police of their ISPs. 

Internetseer [26] : a free web site monitoring service. It  remotely monitors a web site every hour 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If InternetSeer is unable to reach the site, it will send the owner an email alert; and again when it is able to access the site. It gives a weekly report, for example "8.6% of all websites we monitored this past week were down 1 or more times. Average web site down time was 3 hrs. 58 minutes."

Information Security

Microsoft security fixes infected with FunLove virus [27] (The Register) 
Microsoft issued an alert on Monday 23 April, which states that various Hotfix files on its Premier Support and Microsoft Gold Certified Partners Web sites are infected with the FunLove virus. According to a copy of the notice sent to The Register: "Microsoft expects the FunLove infection period spanned approximately two weeks, from Friday, April 6, 2001 to Friday, April 20, 2001."

Project Management Proverbs

I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant. 

There's never enough time to do it right first time but there's always enough time to go back and do it again. 

Software Quality

Recently there was a meeting between many of the proponents of "light methodologies," such as eXtreme Programming, SCRUM, and Adaptive Software Development, culminating in the term "agile methodologies"

Manifesto for Agile Software Development [28]

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: 
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
Working software over comprehensive documentation 
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 
Responding to change over following a plan 
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. "

The lighter side

You might be an engineer if...

... you say things like "It's somewhere in the Red Hat district" -- A network engineer's freudian slip when talking about Amsterdam's nightlife at RIPE 38.

How to Subscribe to the Dilbert Newsletter

You can sign up for the free Dilbert Newsletter automatically. Send a blank e-mail to dilbert-text-on(at)list(dot)unitedmedia(dot)com.


[1] Managing the Euro in Information Systems: Strategies for Success

[2] Euro & EMU index page

[3] BASDA approve SML as software tester for EMU Accreditation

[4] Business Application Software Developer's Association.

[5] Euro IT Workshop

[6] Euro compliance software certification service

[7] TAS Accounting Software

[8] Squaresum PLC "Dream" Accounting

[9] Exchequer Enterprise Accounting software

[10] EuroBarometer surveys

[11] Eurobarometer 54 "Attitudes to the EU"

[12]  Flash Eurobarometer 91: SME euro planning and preparation

[13] Commission call 'Get ready now for euro'

[14] (PDF) Quarterly Review Of The Use Of The Euro

 Good practice to promote consumers' familiarity with the euro

[16] euro-Tracker monitoring tool for euro cross-border Eurocard-MasterCard activity

[17] Risk Management and contingency planning for the euro changeover. 

[18] Changing over payroll to the euro early - a short questionnaire. 

[19] Europaper 42: EMU: The First Two Years - March 2001

[20] FEE Euro conference Brussels May 28-29

[21] Euro Changeover Board of Ireland press release on coin sample kits.

[22] Excel 97 Euro bug

[23] Sunday Business Post Eurozone

[24] Spam Cop automated spam reporting

[25] Hack Watch News

[26] InternetSeer free web site monitoring service

[27] Microsoft security fixes infected with FunLove virus

[28] Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Patrick O'Beirne

Copyright 2001 Systems Modelling Limited, . Reproduction allowed provided the report is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.



"Praxis" means model or example, from the Greek verb "to do". The name is chosen to reflect our focus on practical solutions to IS problems, avoiding hype. If you like acronyms, think of it as "Patrick's reports and analysis across Information Systems".

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