It's no exaggeration to say that the effects of the Year 2000 change on financial institutions in 1999 were of, well, once-in-a-millennium proportions. As information systems testing and remediation peaked, organizations slowed technology spending slowed and tabled hardware and software deployments.

At the same time, spurred by the globalization of financial services, the electronic commerce craze reached fever pitch, pressuring banks, brokerages and even historically tech-shy insurers to gear up for the brave new world of e-business. "The Internet is controlling a major portion of the spending," says Bill Bradway, research director at Meridien Research Inc. "It's become pervasive."

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