Effects of "The Forecast Effect"greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I have a few questions regarding the "Forecast Effect" as posted by Jo Anne Slaven.
I can easily see the effect, and I can see where it could cause a great wailing and gnashing of teeth to the business involved. I can even see how an OTS system would patch some business systems up and have them running in 30 seconds or less. I did some very serious shopping after I grasped the full aspects of this and what it will/must do, at some point,to the same stores that I was shopping in.
My questions concern a slightly different slant/angle on this.
1. How many OTS accounting packages are there out there that would fix up any given business at some higher volume of business activity than say Mom & Pop with 10 offices? I mean, at what level of business do you suppose that a given company would have it's very own custom made accounting system? IE: General Motors, Tandy, WalMart. When GM started there were no OTS systems. Tandy & WalMart both had a very explosive growth period where literally anything could happen. I guess my question really is: Is an OTS accounting system (assuming compliancy) a "one size fits all" type of operation and is it just "Plug & Pray" type?
2. As I understand the comments regarding programming, and programmers in general, most of y'all kind of add a few bells & whistles to most of the programs that you write. Do you do that to an OTS system too? I mean, do you tweak it up to "happy face" the manager who bought it? If you do this, how many of the brand new Whizbang OTS systems are really going to remain compliant, assuming of course that such was the case to begin with? I seem to see several references to "non-compliant" (?) code being written even now.
3. How many of the newly merged companies are really merged in their accounting systems? If the figures passed to corporate, or even to group, level are in useable format do they really install the corporate accounting system to replace the existing one from the acquired company? Even allowing for the "watchdogs" and oversight by the SEC et al I know that the bottom line is the bottom line, and so long as the figures jibe would they really swap out the accounting system of the recently acquired business? I am vaguely aware of the accounting standards and practices, and if the acquired company was a public one it obviously conformed to them, but I am also aware of the bottom line standard. Grab the loot and scoot.
4. Once a business reaches a higher level of business volume, say $500 million per annum, don't y'all think maybe some new guy wants to add a few "statements" to the business plan etc. and they install a brand new custom designed system that says "this is who we are" in addition to all the usual accounting functions? Or maybe, we are a new corporation now and this old system is not good enough for us any longer, I want ??????.
5. Even if the system in use is the one they have used since '02 has it been diddled enough by seventy - eleven different whiz kids over the years to really cause a severe hiccup at fiscal year rollover?
6. Does a corporation always install a single accounting system at all of the locations of all of their different divisions? If so, how do they update (upgrade) the system at all locations at the same time, and without screwing the pooch at the same time?
7. I know that this "effect" concerns an accounting operation and won't affect the actual sales/operations of the business immediately (obviously the bean counters go AS and Big Guy gets involved very shortly thereafter) but how much effort will it take to replace the accounting system, restore the correct data, and generate the 300 reports to 50 different offices to include the Auditor firm? Will "Gee Whiz" version 4.09 really do it to it?
I ask these questions in an effort to try to get a feel for the additional time/effort that will be spent in fixing this, and by definition, thus not spent working on "the operating system problems", as in you can't work at two jobs at the same time.
I am just curious about these things.
As you can tell, I am not a computer whiz, and I sure as h*ll ain't an accountant. I have agitated a PC for some time now, and I have written 3 - 4 spreadsheet type things to calculate effluent flows in open channels, but the only computer things that I am reasonably sure of are the ON/OFF button, and the SHIFT & ENTER keys and I'm not really too sure of the last two...
I really want to know these things so these are indeed serious questions.
Thanks for any answers that you post (serious ones only).
No. I am not really anal. I am just curious.
Answered by sweetolebob(La) (firstname.lastname@example.org) on November 06, 1998. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- sweetolebob (email@example.com), November 12, 1998
I'm back again and I still want to get this answered.
Really, if the IT guys are drafted to fix (install new), tweak, whatever, the accounting system they are not patching up the main ops system for the business. This then implies that the company will be later ( too late? ) fixing their business. The calendar doesn't move but time doesn't stop.
I am just curious anyway.
Some of you 'puter dudes(dude-ettes) can you clarify this?
-- sweetolebob (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 1998.
Having been a programmer for a while, though not on accounting systems, I'll address #2:
>2. As I understand the comments regarding programming, and programmers in general, most of y'all kind of add a few bells & whistles to most of the programs that you write. Do you do that to an OTS system too?
In my experience, almost any major mainframe software package from an outside vendor, regardless of area of application, will provide for customization sorta like adding a trailer to a car that's already equipped for towing.
That is, the package comes with "user exits" at which the customer may attach subroutines to do bell-ringing and whistle-blowing. The vendor specifies the interface design, like the standards for light and brake lines to a trailer. Trailers (user subroutines) are supposed to match those design standards.
>If you do this, how many of the brand new Whizbang OTS systems are really going to remain compliant, assuming of course that such was the case to begin with?
Depends on whether any data passed across the interface involves or affects a date, or otherwise triggers a Y2K situation.
Test and verify, not trust and assume.
>I seem to see several references to "non-compliant" (?) code being written even now.
"To err is human, ..." -- W. Shakespeare
"Jesus wept." -- Bible, New Testament, RSV
-- No Spam Please (email@example.com), November 12, 1998.