NYTimes: Big Companies Falling Behind in Year 2000 Repairs, Survey Says

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The largest companies in the nation continue to fall behind their schedules for Year 2000 repairs, and most suspect that their budget estimates for the remaining work are too low, according to a survey in April that was the latest in a closely watched series that began in 1994.

About 22 percent say they do not expect to have all of their critical systems tested and ready to adjust when the clock ticks over to Jan. 1, 2000. That is up from 16 percent in November and 12 percent last August.

The number of companies that have actually encountered a computer failure stemming from Year 2000 date miscalculations jumped to 72 percent in April from 55 percent in the previous survey, which was completed in November. Eight percent of the 152 Fortune 500 companies and 14 government agencies responding said they had severed relations with a supplier, customer or partner because of Year 2000 problems. This is the first time that such moves have been reported.

The surveys, which are sponsored by CAP Gemini America, a New York consulting firm, are carried out by Howard A. Rubin, an information technology researcher based in Pound Ridge, N.Y. The respondents are typically chief information officers or project managers.

"Everyone agrees there will be some sort of disruptions," Rubin said. "The real issue is going to be how you maintain business continuity."

The fear is that computers will break down because they read the year 2000 as 1900.

About 85 percent of those polled said that spending would have to rise beyond current estimates, mostly to support more testing and the creation of emergency command centers and other contingency plans aimed at keeping business running despite any Year 2000 glitches. Projects are slipping past their expected deadlines at 92 percent of the companies.

"It's typical information technology," said Prof. Leon A. Kappelman, a software management expert at the University of North Texas. "You don't get any recognition until the last 30 days that your project is going to be late."

More than a third now report that their companies are cutting back on new information technology projects to pay for Year 2000 work. In part because of the attention to contingency planning, which involves business managers in addition to technology specialists, the percentage of work done internally has jumped to 82 percent from 60 percent in November.

For all the problems, the respondents seem confident in their ability to manage their way through Year 2000 disruptions. Three out of four said that their Year 2000 programs will give them a competitive advantage, the survey found.

[writer: Barnaby Feder]

-- Slightly Dubious (hmmmmm@curious.com), May 17, 1999



Does anyone know what the standard total number of work days in a year, excluding holidays? (I've read the "creative" Milne interpretations, but wish to know what business personnel calculate as standard.)


-- Lurkin' (LurkI@lurk.on), May 17, 1999.

This is now the *third* such study along these lines in the last few weeks (Yardeni & Triaxsys being the other two). So much for supposed assurances that the US has Y2K "under control." Funny isn't it, how when I say this is happening, I get castigated, but others can say it & it's okay ('course, I ain't no Cap Gemini, either). At the same time, it probably remains true that the big US companies are the leaders- which tells you something in & of itself.

The question really is, what operational impact will "being behind" actually have? Will anyone notice or not? Will it impact a business's bottom line? Another question is, how long will it take for companies to finish their remediation work once we get into 2000?

And consider this: if this is the state of things in the US, then *what* is happening in Europe, Asia, & South America?

Anyone who can't answer these questions with *guarantees* (ie, guarantees of repair) cannot, by extension, guarantee that Y2K is not a high-risk global economic environment.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), May 17, 1999.


Odd question for this thread, but in any case, think about it. 52 weeks per year, times 5 or 6 or 7 days per week, depending on the kind of business, minus holidays.

Meanwhile, back to the thread:

It does not bode well that the severing has already started.


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), May 17, 1999.

173 hours per month (averaged over the year)

At forty hours per work week, average is 21.6 working days per month, or very close to 260 normal working days in a normal calendar year.

Caution: your mileage may vary, and these refer to normal 8 hour days - which has nothing at all in common with most computer projects, computer progress on projects, nor "Death March" projects.

See Yourdon's book "Death March - Surviving an Impossible Computer Project" for more scheduling and process improvement information.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 17, 1999.

By the way - this is absolutely frightening news - if nothing else stuns you into action - this should type of survey of big business should be used to catch people's attention.

Print a copy of this, keep it in your notes. The percentage of work completed has risen, but budgets, scopes, amount of effort, and degree of seriousness has risen faster - among companies who are fixing things.

Among those not preparing their systems - economic losses appear much greater, and much more likely. It doesn't appear that "waiting for failure" is a viable way to survive.

And so there is no wonder that "..Three out of four said that their Year 2000 programs will give them a competitive advantage."

Schedule adherence is positive: It's going backwards - exactly as predicted by previous y2K observers: "Projects are slipping past their expected deadlines at 92 percent of the companies.."

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 17, 1999.

Regarding delays, a footnote from the 10Q of COCA COLA ENTERPRISES INC, not to be confused with the other COCA COLA companies:

(3) The implementation of production processing systems has been delayed, primarily because of the longer than expected leadtimes required for replacement parts and equipment from manufacturers. Additionally, challenges in scheduling manufacturer representative technical personnel to perform specific work have caused some delays.


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), May 17, 1999.

Thank you, Mr. Cook.

-- Lurkin' (LurkI@lurk.on), May 17, 1999.


I think the 'standard' number of billable days for consultants is 200.


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), May 17, 1999.

52 times 5 = 260 260 -10 holidays = 250 250 - 10 vacation = 240

-- ho deedo (hodeedo1@yahoo.com), May 18, 1999.

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