Bits of Good Newsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Wanted to have a thread where we could post Bits of Good News.
Came across this article and was happy to see Y2K addressed in a straightforward manner by different business persons. These ppl sound more aware and active than many we have read about thus far.
Dec 21, 1998, Baltimore Business Journal, Adam Katz-Stone, Contributing Writer
A Race Against Time
Baltimore Firms Gear Up For The Millennium
How serious is the Year 2000 threat? How bad would it be, really, if the electronic wizardry driving modern corporations started confusing 2000 with 1900?
Don Lee says it would be the industrial equivalent of Armageddon.
"We would be unable to continue our business. We could not manufacture, or produce, or provide any product whatsoever," said Lee, vice president of corporate information services at Black & Decker Corp., the Towson-based power-tool maker.
At seasonings giant McCormick & Co. Inc., executives have never even considered a worst-case scenario. "Doing nothing was never thought to be an option, not for a minute," said C. Robert Miller II, vice president of management information systems.
Baltimore's largest employers are unanimous in their belief that the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem is real. It is scary. It is not to be trifled with. They have been working aggressively to tackle the problem, running sweeping companywide assessments and repair programs, and communicating extensively with their employees on the need to be aware of potential Y2K threats.
While most Baltimore-area employers have already been working on Y2K for several years, Bethlehem Steel is way ahead of the pack.
"We knew that the longer you waited to do this, the more costly it was going to become," said Jim Reynolds, a manager in the information-technology department at the steel maker's corporate office.
The Bethlehem, Pa.-based company employs about 4,500 people at its Sparrows Point plant.
The firm began its Y2K work in 1994, about two years ahead of most other corporations. Technicians focused on four large applications, representing about 5 percent of the 54 million lines of code that run the steel giant's daily operations. In making those four applications Y2K-ready, they developed a set of procedures for dealing with all Year 2000 issues -- procedures that have since been replicated in all systems throughout the firm.
Net result: While most corporations are planning their first large-scale Y2K simulations for early next year, Bethlehem Steel already completed a full-scale test last year, running an entire duplicate data center on Year 2000 time for 45 days. While the test did turn up a few problems, "we proved to ourselves that the methodology we were using worked very well," Reynolds said.
This is not to say that other firms are unprepared.
In fact, all the major employers contacted expressed confidence that their Y2K preparations were adequate.
At Provident Bankshares Corp., with 1,300 workers and assets of $4.6 billion, a strategic decision made seven years ago all but solved the firm's Y2K problem before there ever was one.
Provident chose to contract out all its data-processing functions to M&I Data Services, which handles such business for about 700 banks. M&I had already begun pondering the millennium, a big mark in favor of the data-processing firm.
"In terms of Year 2000 issues, that was probably the best thing we ever did," said Russ Johnson, who heads the bank company's operations division. He said that M&I spent about $30 million on Y2K readiness, while the bank spent no additional funds.
At the same time, Provident still runs a number of in-house systems that are not under M&I's control. Of these, Johnson said about 147 applications needed to be looked at for possible Y2K problems.
The firm's 50 technical staffers all spend some time each day working on Y2K. In addition, two full-time people focus solely on millennium issues, and a steering committee of senior managers meets frequently to assess progress.
While most large corporations are confident in their own ability to meet the Y2K challenge, many are less sure of their business partners. For banks that depend on financial input from outside sources, or manufacturers that rely on third-party vendors to supply their raw materials, the possibility of someone else's failure raises grave concerns.
Thus, when $5 billion Black & Decker started looking at Year 2000 issues in 1996, one of the first things the firm did was contact its key suppliers to make sure those firms also were addressing the issue. "We wanted to make sure that they were aware of the problem." explained Lee, who is heading up the company's Y2K effort.
While Johnson of Provident Bankshares is sure his institution will be ready on time, "next year will be our time to develop contingency plans for those things that are outside our control," he said. "We need to figure out: If the telephone company isn't ready, how will we communicate? Will we need to sign onto a satellite service, and are there other banks who will share some of the costs of that contingency? Our biggest concern is always those things that are outside our control."
Likewise, Reynolds of Bethlehem Steel has laid out a clear challenge for all his firm's key suppliers. He has sent out Y2K-preparedness questionnaires, "and if we don't get responses that are satisfactory to us, we will start looking for some alternate suppliers," he said. For many institutions, the biggest Y2K burden may in fact lie with outsiders. In cases where firms are using third-party software, as opposed to custom programs developed in-house, it generally is the responsibility of the software manufacturer to ensure its product is Year 2000-compliant.
"If we do a test run -- and this has happened -- where software has not been compliant and has not worked the way it was advertised, in every case the vendor has stepped up and made the fixes that were needed," said Chuck Cusic, president of FMB Trust Co., a subsidiary of First Maryland Bancorp.
In addition to coordinating with outside vendors, FMB has also been working to make its internal systems Y2K-ready. As a result of a 1997 merger with Pennsylvania-based Dauphin Deposit Corp., the firm upgraded all its major systems, "and we saw that as a great opportunity both to find the technology we wanted to deal with in the future, and at the same time to make sure it was Y2K-compliant," Cusic said.
-- Leska (email@example.com), December 23, 1998
-- curtis schalek (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 24, 1998.
Thanks Leska, we needed that. Will be on the alert for more.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), December 24, 1998.
`Millennium Bug' Taken Out of County Phones
Tuesday, December 15, 1998 )1998 San Francisco Chronicle
URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/ archive/1998/12/15/MNR2CO1.DTL
Martinez -- County computer experts in Contra Costa have already immunized the county government's telephone system against the dreaded ``Millennium Bug'' -- the computer crash that could come when clocks turn over to the year 2000.
Officials in Contra Costa's Department of Information Technology also say in a report this week that the county's core computer network will be prepared by February to withstand the so-called Y2K problem. County computer experts have been working since 1995 to figure out how to avert the technological breakdowns from computers that only use the last two digits of a year, which means that they'll revert to1900 when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's 2000.
Contra Costa's information specialists gave top priority to protecting devices whose failure could threaten the life or safety of citizens, or impose a substantial cost on the county. They plan to run a countywide disaster recovery drill in mid- 1999 to test their preparedness efforts.
According to the report, Contra Costa is recognized as a Y2K pioneer among public agencies in California. The county co-chairs the State of California Intergovernmental Year 2000 Task Force.
)1998 San Francisco Chronicle Page A21
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 24, 1998.
Happy Holidays, folks!
I am as hungry as anyone for good news. Can someone please magnify for me the purported bits of shining light in the article posted by Leska? Is it merely the fact that a few corporate big wigs are addressing the Y2K issue publicly? Or is there more to the article than meets my eye?
1. Does the Bethlehem Steel IT Manager mean to say they are 100% Y2K- compliant & fully tested in-house? That's good news.
2. Russ Johnson, from Provident Bankshares Corp., revealed that they are not compliant. He "is sure his institution will be ready on time", & "next year will be our time to develop contingency plans for those things that are outside our control". Is this good news?
3. FMB Trust Co., a subsidiary of First Maryland Bancorp., "has also been working to make its internal systems Y2K-ready". They are not compliant. There is no time-frame stated for their acheivement of compliance. Good news?
I'm not being facetious. I desire good news. I want it so very much.
By the by, thanks to all of you who's contributions to this forum have made, & hopefully will continue to make, this most arduous, exciting, emotional & rewarding rollercoaster ride just a little less lonely & a great deal easier.
-- Bingo1 (email@example.com), December 26, 1998.