Editorial: Y2K and the GST - no comparison

The latest buzz to hit industry circles suggests IT managers are not prepared to cop any GST flack. The main argument is that the GST is a business issue -- not an IT issue -- and hence should be driven by senior business managers. The sooner upper management appreciates this, the better.

The widespread feeling is that while IT professionals accept full accountability for Y2K -- as a kind of retribution for the "sins of their forefathers" -- GST compliance is simply not their problem. Indeed many resistance groups believe the onus of any government-mandated tax projects should lie squarely on the shoulders of the financial chiefs. Ultimately it should not -- in any way -- fall in the lap of the IT manager.

Instead, GST-related initiatives should be a cooperative effort and considered no different to driving a new accounting system or sales force database. The senior business managers drive the initiative and the IS department implements it.

As this week's cover story emphasises, the good news for IT managers is that should any finger pointing be done post July next year, it won't necessarily be directed at you.

Having spoken to a number of IT professionals on this front, IDC analyst Peter Hind claims that if Y2K didn't work IT would have egg all over its face. However, "if GST is a mess at the end of August next year they're not going to look at IT and say 'it's all your fault'."

According to Hind, that seems to be causing much less anxiety as "IT doesn't believe it owns this problem, and that seems to be letting it off the hook".

Catching on to this, most IT professionals seem somewhat calm about the GST challenge and realise that their role is to complete just part of the GST puzzle. Nothing less, nothing more.

What a nice change.

Angela Prodromou, editor


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