Is 80% compliant good enough? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In an earlier thread, someone suggested that 80% Y2k compliance may be "enough" to allow the economy to continue with only minor negative impact, with a statement that all systems contain some bugs, no system is "error-free". There was a further suggestion that companies could easily go to manual systems if their computer systems weren't working reliably for a time.

First, one has to realize that any Y2k bugs do not replace the other bugs in the system - they are all additive.

Second, when one speaks of systems not being error-free, it usually means that there are unexplored or infrequently used portions of systems that may contain errors - but these parts of the system are invoked by so few transactions that they could not cause serious harm to the organization. Usually that is why these bugs remain - the risk/reward ratio to fix them results in a conclusion that fixing the problem would be more expensive than letting the error occur, then doing a fix-on-failure. But in organizations that have not done much Y2k repair, the errors will likely occur in the great mass of transactions, not just a few.

Third, systems and organizations are so interdependent that a few suppliers being out of business (the 20% who are 100% non-compliant, or even the 40% who are 50% non-compliant) for even a few days or weeks could wreak havoc on their customers who operate on a just-in-time basis.

Fourth, the idea that companies can return to manual systems is preposterous. The institutional memory of how processes operate has been removed from the workforce and placed in the computer system. There is nobody that knows what it takes to do the job without the computer. Manual systems in big organizations were dependent on huge quantities of preprinted forms and lots of typewriters and carbon paper. When was the last time you saw carbon paper? And all the printed forms got shredded.

-- Dan Hunt (, May 17, 1999


What is a "typewriter"?

-- Doug (, May 17, 1999.

According to Alan Greenspan, 99% isn't good enough. This was hashed out a few months back...darn, I wish I could find that thread!

-- Tim (, May 17, 1999.

Good recap, Dan. I see a distinction between the economy continuing on at 80% and a particular business continuing on.

I think many of the 80%er companies may be swallowed up in mergers or foreclosures, or bypassed for investments in favor of other companies. That scenario strikes me as a situation where the overall economy might even out, but with far less market competition at the end and maybe a loss of too many mom&pop stores.

On the other hand, an 80%er that cannot function (e.g., its suppliers crap out) and for which another company cannot fill its shoes, would be more of a basis for an impact on the economy as a whole.

(I remember when my company switched to word processing programs. Some maroon in management decided the typewriters could be tossed. Then someone noticed the only way we could fill out envelopes and forms was with - egads - a typewriter! So we had to buy a bunch of typewriters.)

-- Brooks (, May 17, 1999.

Which 80%?

On a math test, getting 80% done may get you 80% of the credit but in real life, the points arent uniformly distributed. 20% of the bugs may represent 90% of your business capability. Yet the bug fixing "game" is to show steady progress, so you fix the easy and irrelevant stuff first.

For example, a donut shop with an embedded system controlled deep fryer is out of business if it cant fry donuts. If they cant make coffee, or the cash register craps out they can still make donuts and sell them (maybe not as many or as happy customers).

For 80% compliance to work it has to be the RIGHT 80%. Sadly, the last 20% may consist of the most critical AND most difficult repairs. Percentages simply do not correlate well with "readiness" They are too easy to obfuscate

-- quasimodo (, May 17, 1999.

Sure. 80% is great!

After all, you'd just love to fly on an airline which had 80% of its flights not crash, bank with a bank that didn't lose 80% of its customer's deposits, eat food from suppliers that supplied 80% that wasn't rotten, buy power from a company that was up 80% of the time... or one that supplied 80% of the voltage that you needed (88 v instead of 110!).

Come on. If one transaction out of five fails, error procedures will be swamped...and companies will be forced to do greatly reduced workloads. Less goods and services available, less payroll, less economic activity. In short, depression.

Depressing, isn't it?

-- Mad Monk (, May 17, 1999.

80% is not good enough, because the interconnectivity of everything demands 100% compliance. Any problems in the systems will "infect, bother, stop, etc...any good links. It depends on their cross connections and interdependency. It isn't something that anyone can get a conplete handle on, however, any rational person knows 80% in the computer world is enormously faulty.....

-- rick shade (, May 17, 1999.

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