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This just came in, for those of you who don't get this e-mailed to you...
********** The State of Other Nations
This is part two of our special coverage of the BrainStorm Year 2000 National Symposium Series that took place in New Orleans, LA March 29 - 31, 1999. The next BrainStorm Conference is in San Francisco on June 28-30. Stay tuned for special discounts from Year2000.com.
Stephanie Moore of the Giga group gave a report as to how the rest of the world was doing. This was timely as many press stories are beginning to feel better about the Y2K situation of the United States, but are questioning how the rest of the world is doing and what effect this will have on the US.
She began by telling the audience how difficult it is to get meaningful information from many countries. For instance in Saudi Arabia, getting any information is challenging, but in Russia there is a general lack of awareness at the management level. She emphasized that every company needs to make contingency plans if they deal with foreign companies, regardless of what country they are in. Make sure that any company, business partner, supplier or subsidiary that affects your bottom line is compliant. If they aren't, you must have a back-up plan.
I noticed in the press very recently that Russia had asked for 8 billion pounds for help with Y2K. Stephanie pointed out that only a year ago they thought they had very few problems. This means there is a real question here as to whether this was a new projection of Y2K costs or just the discovery of a new "cash cow." I think the latter. Just as some managers have discovered during the last two years that they could fund their pet projects by tying it into year 2000 compliance, I expect some will see this as a whole new source of foreign aid.
Stephanie reported that, in most foreign countries, there is a general level of ignorance at the executive level, and most small- and medium-sized concerns have not done very much. In France, the IT people are working on the problem, often in secret, while the managers ignore them and the issue. There is general feeling in Europe that the year 2000 problem is an Anglo-American conspiracy.
Stephanie recounted an interesting story that happened to her when she was being interviewed about Y2K on French TV. The interviewer was polite and knowledgeable and asked her the right questions during the interview, right up until the end. Then he popped his zinger question. He asked Stephanie if all this concern about Y2K was just
hype so American consulting firms could get more money out of France. The question took her off guard to such an extent that she had no answer, which is just the way he wanted the end of the interview to go.
She said the United States is the only country working on contingency planning and the only country with extensive executive-level awareness. The United Nations is trying to raise awareness of the problem but often has to pay the airfare of delegates to go to the conferences to ensure their presence. Italy is doing almost nothing while, on the Pacific Rim, they are at least talking about it. She said the main obstacle to success is that the executives still have little or no understanding of the problem.
This highlights the main reason this problem is so pervasive and misunderstood. The year 2000 problem is very difficult to understand, especially for someone with no knowledge of what software is or how it is made. I think the main year 2000 problem is the general level of ignorance beyond the IT circle. Some people say we could have avoided this problem, and I even heard that statement at this conference from presenters who should know better. If everyone knew then what we know now this might be true, but the executives in the rest of the world are where our executives were one, two and three years ago. While this attitude shows the marvelous effectiveness of 20/20 hindsight and gives good ammunition to the lawyers, it doesn't help solve the problem one bit.
Because of the ignorance problem, there is no way we could have done this any differently. I wish the education process could have gone faster, but it didn't. And judging from the relatively stable number of people who think the end is coming, it still isn't happening. We have to work now with what we have, not with how we wish things could have been, or spend our time singling out those to blame.
There are other obstacles to consider. Stephanie said there is a huge disconnect between the CIO and IT departments and the CEO. In many cases, the executives sponsor, but don't empower. This is also fairly common over here. The executives are leaving the business decisions to IT when these people don't have an enterprise view and can't make these decisions.
Worldwide difficulties that exacerbate the problem are the Asian financial problem, Japanese banking, and the Russian economy. Difficulties also come from the introduction of the EMU in most of Europe. Stephanie reported that many IT departments are stealing money earmarked for EMU transitions in order to fix Y2K.
I found a news story a few months ago out of Europe, urging IT people to work on the EMU because there was another whole year to work on Y2K. Stephanie said that year 2000 affects everything, not just the financial system software, and is much more serious than the introduction of the Euro. But many who are involved with the Euro think just the opposite. She pointed out that most of the work on the Euro is coordinated while the Y2K solutions are individual, often unique, and created in isolation of everyone else. This will
cause lots of problems when it comes time to test the systems with other systems.
So where are the nations of the world relative to each other and fixing their systems? According to Stephanie, Latin America, the Pacific Rim, and Eastern Europe were in the awareness/inventory stage of finding what and where the problem is. Europe is in the impact assessment phase, which is repair and fix. The US, UK, Canada and Australia are in the testing implement phase, which is installing and testing the fixes.
In Asia, the situation is mixed. China says it is addressing the problem, but of 500 companies asked, 53% still don't know what Y2K is. China has the added difficulty of having lots of pirated software because of their differing perceptions of intellectual property. Japan is supposedly having troubles with contingency planning and supply chain issues because, to ask a supplier or a customer how they are coming along with their fix shows a lack of trust and is impolite. Stephanie said the general thinking is that Japan has underestimated the problem and that their lack of contingency planning shows that the managers still don't understand the problem.
She said Germany, Belgium, France, and especially Spain are behind and in significant danger of year 2000 failures, even though they are ahead on the Euro. The utilities over there are not in bad shape and they are doing some creative things. The French electrical utility is asking all their major customers what their electric needs will be for the week before and after new years. There is less job-hopping going on in Europe and, while there is almost no contingency planning, the people of Europe have had a forced education in contingency planning that is superior to anything on our side of the pond. This is because of what Stephanie called "human induced" infrastructure failures, or strikes. They have so many strikes in Europe that people are accustomed to having parts of their society going down or being inaccessible for protracted periods. They know what to do. The bad news is that, while Britain is ranked high, many
companies are not ready. The U.S. Government ranks Germany on the same level as Japan. In Germany there is little public information available and a general reluctance to discuss or plan. Italy just set up a committee to deal with Y2K and Spain is one of the least prepared. Interestingly enough, in another session, one of the speakers cited the Gartner Group statistics on Europe and was contradicted by a Swedish man sitting just behind me. He said the Gartner numbers were just guesses and in Sweden they had a more accurate index called the "Garlic Belt". He said that the level of year 2000 compliance is inversely proportional to the consumption of garlic in Europe, meaning that, as you go South, the consumption of garlic goes up and the level of compliance goes down. The "garlic belt" tends to confirm Giga's findings.
This illustrates the major problem in trying to assess how the rest of the world is doing. Meaningful statistics just aren't there. It may well be that how a company or country deals with disruption is more important than how many systems are fixed. I have been exchanging mail with an engineer in Latvia named Lucas. Two years ago, I asked him how he thought it would be. At that time, he was about the only person in Latvia who even knew there was a problem. He predicted the worst, but then added, "But look what they say can happen. Intermittent power, scarcity of goods and services, no gas, no garbage pick up. We HAD that for fifty years under communism. We can do that!"
Stephanie didn't really cover the third world in her session but, at the end, she said there were far fewer things to go wrong because their infrastructures are older and simpler and the countries, as a whole, still remember how to do most processes with paper and pencil. But she said there is just no way to predict if it will be business as usual or what the impacts would be.
Next week will be contingency planning.
Jon Huntress firstname.lastname@example.org The Year 2000 Information Center
-- pshannon (email@example.com), May 02, 1999
Thank you so much...a really good read and I have sent it on to everyone I know includiing those across the pond. (both ponds).
Tax......got those cheap tennis shoes made in China carried by Wal Mart?
-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), May 02, 1999.
That is very interesting and I do intend to stock up on the tennies from China.
One thing I don't understand is why some of the countries have such a hard time understanding the problem. I'm no expert but I got enough understanding in one sitting early one Saturday morning reading some of the stuff on the net describing the y2k problem. I didn't need to be hit in the head with a hammer to have the sh*t scared out of me with the implications.
It took 2 weeks to get over the immediate reaction, depression, problems sleeping ect. It was a very strange sensation, thinking about all this stuff and everything around me looking so normal. Very weird. I thought, "am I going to feel like this until the end of the year?" Thank goodness the high anxiety part of it passed. And the more we prepare the better I feel. It's worth it just for the peace of mind no matter how it ends up!
mb in NC
-- mb (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999.
"Stephanie Moore of the Giga group gave a report as to how the rest of the world was doing...."
"She said the United States is the only country working on contingency planning and the only country with extensive executive-level awareness." I assume this is just poor reporting. No informed person would make such a statement. Unless she was telling the audience what they wanted to hear: "We're OK, everyone else is stupid."
"China has the added difficulty of having lots of pirated software because of their differing perceptions of intellectual property." i> The U.S. leads the world in pirated software, not China.
"Japan is supposedly having troubles with contingency planning ..." "Suppposedly..." (?) I 'suppose' she doesn't know. The Bank of Japan was the first central bank in the world to distribute a contingency plan - which includes models for all banks to use. All trade and industry organizations have issued model contingency plans for their members. The largest, multi-company, coordinated y2k task force in the world is in Japan. I've seen contingency plans that will make your head spin.
"...and supply chain issues because, to ask a supplier or a customer how they are coming along with their fix shows a lack of trust and is impolite.. Wrong.
" Stephanie said the general thinking is that Japan has underestimated the problem... And the countries which have properly estimated the problem would be...?
"...and that their lack of contingency planning shows that the managers still don't understand the problem." Excuse me? But, I understand the problem quite well, thank you. Painting with a pretty wide brush here... And just where did she get her information? (i.e. The original Moodys report last year was based on one telephone interview with
employee at one bank).
Months ago I stated the Gartner Group would elevate their ranking of Japan... which they did. Japan will be at the same level of preparedness as any country in the top group by August.
The real problem is that I'm not happy about the preparedness of any country because we've missed schedules and increased costs just to try to remediate "mission-critical" systems. The number and cost to remediate the remaining systems has slipped out our conversations. No one wants to talk about it. "We can worry about that later..." Sound familiar?
-- PNG (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
-- PNG (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999.
"Stephanie reported that, in most foreign countries, there is a general level of ignorance at the executive level, and most small- and medium-sized concerns have not done very much."
I'm glad U.S. SME's are in such good shape...
"Next week will be contingency planning."
If 'we' executives in foreign countries are so ignorant, why are U.S. executives going to this conference on contingency planning? Kind of late to be thinking about back up plans for vendors now...we 'ignorant' people thought about it last year, since it takes about 6 months to execute a vendor change.
And people pay to listen to this dribble...
-- PNG (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
"dribble"... ? Where did that come from? I need some coffee...
-- PNG (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999.
PNG -- Now tell us your true feelings (man, living in Japan has not taught you indirection, has it)?
Plus ca change (it's still, Y2K, stupid, isn't it) ..... Y2K would have made an excellent foundation for the original, real Catch-22 novel. So much about it is satirical, consciously or sub-consciously. Except for the final chapter in the novel, soon to be written, which details the suffering ordinary people around the world (including the U.S.) will endure.
And, yes, you're right about the dribble. It comes right off the chins of IT research consultants. Very yucky to watch. And, oddly, they don't seem to notice .....
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 02, 1999.
>>>>> "She said the United States is the only country working on contingency planning and the only country with extensive executive-level awareness." I assume this is just poor reporting. No informed person would make such a statement. Unless she was telling the audience what they wanted to hear: "We're OK, everyone else is stupid." <<<<<
[[Never assume. I am sure you have heard of the saying to the effect that 'if you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME. And, she never said everyone else was stupid. Try determining the point of view she is writing from....the key word here is EXTENSIVE]]
>>>>> "China has the added difficulty of having lots of pirated software because of their differing perceptions of intellectual property." The U.S. leads the world in pirated software, not China. <<<<<
[[Is this based on your own experience? Is this on a corporate level, or an individual user level?]]
PNG posted: >>>>> "Japan is supposedly having troubles with contingency planning ..." "Suppposedly..." (?) I 'suppose' she doesn't know. The Bank of Japan was the first central bank in the world to distribute a contingency plan - which includes models for all banks to use. All trade and industry organizations have issued model contingency plans for their members. The largest, multi-company, coordinated y2k task force in the world is in Japan. I've seen contingency plans that will make your head spin. <<<<<
[[Supposedly may mean that she was getting conflicting information? And are you saying that the bank of Japan runs the country? And also every industry they have there? If they have such great contingency plans, why hasn't it been mentioned that all the other industries in the world are following their example? If you have seen them, show us. "Assume" we are from Missouri...or is it YOUR head that is spinning?]]
>>>>> "...and supply chain issues because, to ask a supplier or a customer how they are coming along with their fix shows a lack of trust and is impolite.. Wrong. <<<<<
[[So now you are a cultural attache? Explain why this is wrong?]]
>>>>> " Stephanie said the general thinking is that Japan has underestimated the problem...And the countries which have properly estimated the problem would be...? <<<<<
[[The more logical question would seem to be, 'Who did the GENERAL THINKING?' Obviously we know who it wasn't, PNG.
>>>>> "...and that their lack of contingency planning shows that the managers still don't understand the problem." Excuse me? But, I understand the problem quite well, thank you. Painting with a pretty wide brush here... And just where did she get her information? (i.e. The original Moodys report last year was based on one telephone interview with employee at one bank). <<<<<
[[If you understand the problem quite well, perhaps you could contact Stephanie Moore, find out who her contacts are, and explain it to them? And did you accidently leave out the word 'an' or did you leave out the letter 's' in this sentence:: 'The original Moodys report last year was based on one telephone interview with [an]employee[s] at one bank.'?
>>>>> Months ago I stated the Gartner Group would elevate their ranking of Japan... which they did. Japan will be at the same level of preparedness as any country in the top group by August.<<<<<
Of what year? And what level? The USA is alleged to be the frontrunner in remediation, followed by Canada, UK, Australia, et al. Is Japan going to get to that alleged level by August? How?
>>>>> The real problem is that I'm not happy about the preparedness of any country because we've missed schedules and increased costs just to try to remediate "mission-critical" systems. The number and cost to remediate the remaining systems has slipped out our conversations. No one wants to talk about it. "We can worry about that later..." Sound familiar? <<<<<
Are you sure you are in the right forum? Most everyone here in THIS forum is VERY aware of the 'non-mission-critical' systems. It is the media reports of announcements of various stages remediation of 'mission-critical' systems that is getting top billing currently. The ALLEGED non-critical systems may well cause more harm than is expected...which is not something I myself desire.
Perhaps, instead of jumping on the report for the lack of supporting documentation, you should be asking where the supporting documentation is. In this way, we would all better understand the message that she is trying to deliver.
Reporters are well known to be 'unclear' in reporting. Were this not so, we would have no need to discuss the implications because they would be clear for everyone.
And by the way, it is not too late for contingency planning. As time moves on, and situations change, so must plans change. Think about it.
-- J (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
BD... It was 4:30 AM when I read the original post...before my first cup of coffee (grrr). And it was right after I read where some other people on another thread offered me their 'insight' on Japan. According to them, if I'd been following the news, I'd i> know that Japan was in a recession...Duh...
Took a refreshing walk around a nice park near my house after posting that. It's a beautiful Monday morning and this week is Golden Week - almost everyone has the week off. I feel much better now. I actually thought about golf for a nanosecond.
Having spent time overseas BD (Europe, wasn't it?) I'm sure you understand some of the frustrations.
-- PNG (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999.
Off (again)... sorry
-- PNG (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
PNG -- Yes, France in 1985-86, auditing all GCOS7 and 8 systems for Bull. Plus an apartment on the Seine across from the Louvre and all the starred restaurants we could go to. My children were immeasurably enriched by studying with kids from 43 countries at the International School. And so it does. Yes, I do understand some of your frustration.
OT (or not?): the CIO said to us, "do you understand why we brought you here?" Us: "No." Him: "Because we French are the best people in the world at thinking about what we should do from Monday thru Friday afternoon. But we need you to come in here on Friday afternoon and tell us to go do it."
Also OT (or not?): if the French had ever mastered software as well as they managed cuisine, they would rule the world.
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 02, 1999.
I think the report basically rings true, although I know the UK is also into contingency planning, as are Canada and, I would guess Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and a few other more enlightened places.
My favorite sentence of the whole thing:
"We have to work now with what we have, not with how we wish things could have been, or spend our time singling out those to blame."
In a nutshell.
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999.
J: FYI: png is posting from Japan, where he has been a resident for several years. his website is: http://www2.gol.com/users/png/ and
-- chuck, a Night Driver (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
Well, J... I guess I did jump all over the report. gomen nasai. mae wa chotto okotte demo ima suguoi genki (Sorry, I was a little angry earlier, but now I feel great) 1) Re: China & software: America wa ichi ban inchkina sofuto de. jibun no koto j'nai. kore wa okane no ranking. (The U.S. is the leader based on monetary value of software pirated. All of Asia ( which includes China) is catching up, but remains behind the U.S.) 2)Bank of Japan: So desu ne, nihon no ginko to MITI suguoi tsuyoii. moshi nihon no sei hanasu, zembu kaisha kitte. (The Bank of Japan, MITI and other organizations are remarkably strong, in comparison to American or European governmental/industry groups in influencing business and total structural planning.) Nihon no ginko no contingency plan wa koko de:(The link to the Bank of Japan is here-- don't worry, it's an English translation)
2) continued Re: company contingency plans-- Since most Japanese speak Japanese they write their contingency plans in Japanese. [Hint: this may be one of the reasons you don't hear much about Japan company or national preparations.] 3) Re: "So now you are a cultural attache?" Well, I guess you got me there. I'm not a cultural attache. I don't sing my own praises. Suffice it to say that my first-hand experience includes vendors and customers candidly discussing y2k readiness. 4)"Who did the GENERAL THINKING?' Obviously we know who it wasn't, PNG." Yes, you are correct. I am unworthy. Please forgive me. 5)The sentence should have read: " The original Moodys report last year was based on one telephone interview with one employee at one bank." 6)Re: "Of what year? [ funny...] And what level? [ Since Japan was in level 3 and moved up to level 2, I think the next level would be ...1??] The USA is alleged to be the frontrunner in remediation, [Actually, Sweden and Canada are considered to be further advanced than the U.S.] followed by Canada, UK, Australia, et al. Is Japan going to get to that alleged level by August? How?" [Why would you be asking < i>me ?] BTW, J - The little bits of sarcasm I included are written with a grin, not malice.
-- PNG (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 1999.
Stephanies ... Giga Information Group ... web-site:
(i.e. who is Stephanie and what is her expertise) ...
Giga Information Group is a worldwide IT decision support provider of information, analysis and strategic and tactical advice relating to developments and trends in the computing industry.
Giga Information Group, founded by industry leader Gideon I. Gartner, delivers technology and management advice to IT decision-makers via innovative research processes and a leading-edge Web interface. Gigas research focus is on helping companies integrate their businesses with the Internet; it also covers issues pertaining to the computing, telecommunications and related industries. Giga began providing its services in April 1996, and now has a global client base exceeding 950 organizations and over 14,000 individuals. Its enterprise clients include IT decision-makers who sell technology, who use technology, and who invest in technology.
(All of Giga's primary research and analysis is housed in a powerful database, providing Giga members with an interactive, electronic library 24 hours a day. Unlike static research documents provided under the traditional IT services model, Giga's research grows in value and relevance as additional perspectives are provided, and is updated as market conditions evolve.)
Giga Analysts ...
IT Management & Services ...
Stephanie Moore -- The Year 2000 Problem
Stephanie Moore is an analyst covering the Year 2000 (Y2K) issue. Stephanie has advised hundreds of client companies about Y2K strategies, tools, technologies, vendors and methodologies.
Prior to joining Giga Information Group, Stephanie was an analyst at Atelier Research, where she specialized in software application development technologies, business process re engineering tools and legacy migrations. Previously, she was a research associate at New Science Associates, a Gartner Group company, where she was responsible for vendor and product analysis.
Stephanie has appeared on CNBC Market Wrap, Fox News and numerous radio talk shows to discuss Year 2000 issues.
She earned a B.A. with honors from Fairfield University.
(Blip, from another section ... About Giga's Research Year 2000 for the Boardroom is based on Giga's body of Year 2000 research, largely created by Giga's senior analyst Stephanie Moore. Stephanie advises hundreds of client companies about Year 2000 strategies, tools, technologies, vendors, and methodologies. Recently she has been focusing on Giga's Equities Research Group, where she works closely with investment bankers and fund managers to position and evaluate public and private technology companies.)
Giga Article Archives (The latest doesnt seem to be posted) ...
Summary Reports provide overviews of key research areas addressed by Giga's analyst community. Each targets a specific job function or industry sector. Giga Advisory Members have complimentary access to these reports in electronic format; GigaWeb Users and Seats may purchase them at a discount; and non-members may purchase them individually.
... Buried under Special Publications => Summary Reports => Year 2000 for the Boardroom ...
Year 2000 for the Boardroom gives you the executive summary you need to effectively manage the Year 2000 project with your management team, shareholders and customers. This report enables you to plan for a successful transition into the 21st century and incorporate Year 2000 strategies. Publication Date: November, 1997
Was hoping some Y2K articles written by Stephanie, but, no can find at Gigas Y2K lite site.
Rather read the Congressional testimony on the international Y2K situation, myself.]
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), May 03, 1999.
Thanks, PNG, for replying. As you stated that 'emotion was high' when you wrote, I can only say that I was feeling a little emotional as well. And not about the thread either, which was worse for me...
I have never replied so fast to a post before. I usually will hold it and re-read it while summing up my view in Word. Usually by the time I am ready to post, someone has said basically the same thing already. [And in a more precise manner.]-:)
I appreciate your candor, and your hands on experience of Japan. Since my reply I have thought about the message from Japan and only wish that, in view of the world wide situation, we could have more cooperation between the countries.
What it really boils down to is the language problem. By this I am not referring to the difference between Japanese, English, Spanish, etc., but the words that are used to convey the intent of the message.
I have said this before: The complexity of the English language, with so many substitute words and phrases, in itself allows miss-interpretation of ideas. I believe that you were responding to this as well as I. And it seems our emotions got in the way. I know mine did. Sorry about that.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. With your info, and links, along with Chuck and Diane's, I feel that I may soon understand a little more about this complex situation. And no doubt broaden my world view as well.
Going for a walk before work. 'I hear a walk can be refreshing....'
Special thanks to you. When I read a thread, I look for your posts first!
-- J (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 1999.
J--Your civility and character do not go unnoticed.
As of this week, I've been in Japan for 7 years. If I'm humbled daily by my lack of depth in understanding the nuances of this culture and language...and I sometimes go a week without uttering a word in English, how little do others really understand?
Dave Barry tells a story in one of his books about Japan about a meeting (arranged by the U.S. publisher's rep) with a government official shortly after arrival for a two-week 'research' trip. Japan is old. The first emperor consolidated power 1,659 years ago. The official (who naturally had never heard of a Mr. Dave Barry before) was at a loss for words when Dave told him it was his first trip to Japan, he spoke no Japanese and he would write about Japan after being here for two weeks.
The silence was long and difficult until Dave recognized why the official was shocked. Dave broke the silence by saying something to the effect: "Well...It's not going to be a very good book."
-- PNG (email@example.com), May 03, 1999.
Well PNG, that's Dave for ya! He has his good qualities. That's why we keep him around...
I just came home from work andhaven't had a moment to begin the links and reading, but I am going to. I still have a bunch of the FEMA stuff to go through as well from another thread. That stuff gives me a headache, and a bad feeling in my stomach.
I guess if you read Dave, you must be okay!
Not that I doubted, of course!
-- J (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 04, 1999.