America's Largest Companies Among Y2K Laggards : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Infoseek Y2K news <:)=


Wal Mart, Intel and Conagra rated "Low" for Y2K Progress; GM, Ford,

Texaco, Chevron, Bell Atlantic rated "Below Average"

Some of nation's largest corporations are among the furthest behind in fixing their computer systems for the millennium, according to Weiss Ratings, Inc., the only provider of Y2K readiness ratings on banks, insurance companies, and Fortune 1000 companies.

Among the 50 largest nonfinancial corporations in America (by revenues), three companies -- Wal Mart, Intel, and Conagra -- received a Weiss Y2K Rating of "low," indicating potentially serious delays in fixing their computer systems for the year 2000.

Meanwhile, 11 of the 50 largest companies received a Y2K rating of "below average." These included America's two largest corporations, General Motors and Ford, as well as Texaco, Chevron, Bell Atlantic, Motorola, PepsiCo, Kroger Company, SBC Communications, United Technologies, and Compaq.

None of the nation's 50 largest nonfinancial companies merited a Weiss Y2K Rating of "high," and only three of the largest 100 received a "high" grade -- Costco, American Stores, and AMR. Smaller companies among the Fortune 1000 receiving "high" Weiss Y2K ratings include Northrop Grumman, Continental Airlines, Consolidated Edison, and Unisource Worldwide, Inc.

Martin Weiss, Ph.D., chairman of Weiss Ratings commented: "We've known for some time that small and mid-sized companies would have difficulties in their preparations for the new millennium. But the poor progress made by so many of America's largest companies comes as quite a shock, implying potentially serious disruptions in the operations and profits of at least some of these companies."

The following is the distribution of ratings of the nonfinancial companies reviewed:

Y2K Rating Number of Companies


High 51

Average 220

Below Average 208

Low 59

Insufficient Data 279

"One of the greatest dilemmas we face," added Dr. Weiss, "is the continuing lack of public disclosure. Over 34% of the Fortune 1000 companies we reviewed have failed to disclose sufficient information on their Y2K progress upon which to base a rating. The disclosure issue is even worse among the nation's 11,000 banks and 4,000 insurance companies. Without this information, the public is more likely to assume the worst and make hasty decisions with their savings and investments."

The Weiss Y2K Ratings for the Fortune 1000 are based on a proprietary model that compares publicly available data on Y2K budgets and expenditures over time and in relation to industry peer groups. Weiss rates banks, S&Ls, and insurance companies separately, based on the Weiss Y2K questionnaires received privately from these institutions.

Widespread Delays In Utilities And Telecommunications Industries

Overall, the 538 nonfinancial companies rated by Weiss have budgeted $26 billion for Y2K-related preparations, but have spent only $13.6 billion, barely half of the funds allocated. This indicates widespread delays and the likelihood of a major eleventh-hour rush to catch up as the end of the year approaches.

"I'm particularly concerned about the utilities and telecommunications industries, not only because they are essential to our everyday lives, but also because the majority of the companies in these industries tend to be lagging behind," said Dr. Weiss.

Among the 61 electric and gas utilities receiving a Weiss Y2K Rating, 69% received "below average" or "low" Y2K grades, while only 5% received "high" ratings. Among 19 telecommunications firms rated, 68% received "below average" or "low" grades, with none receiving a "high" grade.

Weiss also publishes financial safety and Y2K readiness ratings on insurers, banks, and S&Ls. The accuracy of its ratings has been favorably reviewed by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) as well as national consumer organizations. For more information, contact Weiss Ratings at 800-289-9222 or visit the Weiss Ratings web site at Note to editors: The Weiss Y2K Ratings of the largest 100 companies are available.

Copyright 1999, Business Wire

-- Sysman (, May 10, 1999


Sysman, Head for the hills now before the stampede !

If the USA is ahead of the UK what chance do we poor Brits have?It won't be toast ..more like charcoal!

-- Chris (, May 10, 1999.

This was also discussed in some detail below related to Tiaxsys's ratings which are essentially the same as Weiss's (i.e % of budget spent to date).

Rob Michael's Post

-- RMS (, May 10, 1999.

Sysman..... nice post!

-- Mark Howard (, May 10, 1999.


This is an excellent post. I'm going to send it to my tax preparer who thinks we should have all our money in the stock market....NO ANDS, IFS or BUTTS!!


-- GeeGee (, May 10, 1999.

Its bad enough we have to put up with North's fans around here (but they still have to shop with us).

Nice post my foot. We lead Retail in using I.T. and with state of the art systems. So much for Weiss' nonsense.

WalMart is spending 1/2 of what K-Mart is spending. Now go look at sales comparisons. The only reason we are supposed to be "hehind" in I.T. is the way the so-called "Rating" system was done.

Weiss did this same silly crap with the Banks and his "proprietary evaluations". He is lucky some bank didn't go to court for damaging their name but Weiss is too smart for that.

Bottom line for you:

Look at how much Wally *spends* on I.T./year.

Then see how truly freaking trivial Y2k is to us.

Then go out and get a life for yourselves.

We will be ready for business in 2000 and long after. So will most of retail.

-- Wally (, May 10, 1999.


Well said. I've responded to both the Weiss and Triaxsys things in the other threads, too: they're using "amount of money spent" to determine actual compliance, and that's simply not a valid metric.

Anyone who sends Weiss money for one of his reports is wasting it.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 10, 1999.


Could you suggest a report that does use a valid metric? It isn't December 1998 anymore and concern is growing.

-- Kevin (, May 10, 1999.

Wow, I'm glad to hear Wal-Mart is going to be compliant. Can get better clothes at Goodwill.

-- Shop at Real Stores (, May 10, 1999.

from c.s.y2k:

Author: Tom Benjamin

Lane Core Jr. wrote in message >>To me that is consistent with a project that was both bigger than >>anticipated and proceeding more slowly than anticipated. It is evidence that >>Yourdon is correct about big software projects. There are surely exceptions >>to this idea. The metric is not valid for any given company. There might be >>a good reason for this company of that one to be dramatically underspent. > >That seems to be a very reasonable explanation. Unfortunately, we >don't know enough particulars to be able to determine whether it is >also an accurate description of what's actually going on. :-( I am not sure what you mean except that nothing is for sure. I don't think it is possible to have enough particulars on individual companies. Information dates very quickly. Some companies are reducing Y2k budget expectations. Some companies budgeted way too much. Some budgeted too little. Some companies are putting brand new systems under Y2k even though the system isn't introduced solely because of Y2k. Some companies aren't counting money like salaries for existing staff. Others count everything. Some exaggerate their progress, others are too cautious when answering the questions. Everyone is to some degree unique. But if you ask enough people all of these things will supposedly balance out. We do not get a truly accurate snapshot, but we get one that is as good as possible, a rough estimate. Unless there is a more reasonable explanation (or equally reasonable explanation) for the data, then what should a rational person conclude? The trends in four separate studies (Triaxys, Yardeni, Weiss and Statscan) released in the past two weeks all contain consistent information: 1) Budgets are increasing. 2) Expenditures lag budgets by shockingly large numbers. 3) An appallingly small number of firms are now ready. This is not consistent with the Pollyanna picture. It is very consistent with Ed Yourdon. Tom

-- a (a@a.a), May 10, 1999.

What another company is doing about Y2K...


Hughes' Year 2000 program is on schedule. Hughes has incurred and expensed approximately $2.0 million through 1997 and approximately $7.0 million during 1998, related to the assessment of, and on-going efforts in connection with, its Year 2000 program. Future spending for system remediation and testing are currently estimated to be from $15 million to $19 million, with the majority of the expense expected to be incurred during the first half of 1999.


-- Kevin (, May 10, 1999.

Could you define "on schedule?"

-- GeeGee (, May 10, 1999.

My sentiments exactly.

-- Kevin (, May 10, 1999.

Funny, once again I don't agree with CET and his buds. The polly crowd says money isn't being spent, because fewer problems are being found than first thought. Sorry, I look at the latest .gov report that says current estimate is 3 TIMES ORIGINAL. We have dozens of reports in the archive saying costs are GOING UP.

I guess the reports are wrong and the studies faulty. After all, the prophets have been wrong, haven't they? And golly gee, computers do crap out every day now, don't they? I must be just plain crazy to be worried about Y2K. <:)=

-- Sysman (, May 10, 1999.

That is what I do not understand. If there are fewer problems than expected, why do the budgets increase? Fewer problems than expected should indicate a decrease in budget, with most or at least half of it spent already.

Even the given that testing takes the longest block of time, it should not be the most expensive part should it? I would have thought that taking inventory, assessing and fixing the code would have required more salary, software and hardware expenditures. Am I mistaken in this? Unless there are many problems with 'fixed' code, shouldn't this be less than half of Y2k expenses?


-- Dian (, May 10, 1999.

Folks, I'm no polly, but take Weiss with a grain of salt. He's a kind of economic ambulance chaser, jumping on whatever issue is making people nervous at any given time. Once it was banks. Then some big life insurers went belly up, and suddenly he was an expert on the insurance biz. Now its Y2K. Again, I see a lot to worry about with Y2K, but I'm not looking to Weiss for authoritative information.

-- Thinman (, May 10, 1999.

For me the phrase "on schedule," when uttered in May, 1999, concerning a complex enterprise critical function which has had a 40 year date with destiny, is now gallows humor.

-- Puddintame (, May 10, 1999.

An article from Dr. Edward Yardeni's The Y2K Reporter:

"Will Corporate America & Canada Beat Y2K Deadline?"

-- Kevin (, May 10, 1999.


Any source can be questionable when it comes to Y2K. This is not a bad thing, and I do appreciate your opinion on Weiss. We also have another study by Triaxsys, noted above by RMS, that says pretty much the same thing. Costs are going up, and the money isn't being spent. Sure, I expect a big push for the rest of the year. I'm just not sure a last minute rush is going to cut it. Fixed systems should be in stress testing by now. New software and hardware have training issues. What is going to be over-looked in all the running around? And the clock continues to tick. <:)=

-- Sysman (, May 11, 1999.

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