IT Veterans Need To Be Recalled To Tackle Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Now who said its never too late except for y2k. What's up with these legecy systems?

By Sylvia Dennis, Newsbytes.

ICL, the computer and services group, says the Year 2000 problem can be solved by bringing back all the IT veterans that many companies laid off or retired early in the mini-recession of the early 1990s.

Many of these people, who took early retirement or redundancy packages, took with them their knowledge of how many computer networks and legacy systems were installed and now operate. ICL questions whether the younger generation of engineers are best suited to scaling Windows NT in the enterprise.

According to its white paper, the IT industry is severely missing out on the enterprise skills of older IT staff.

Peter Slavid, ICL's business strategy manager, said that the white paper addresses key issues faced by organizations which are keen to deploy NT on an enterprise scale.

"It's clear from the conclusive evidence presented by ICL that the most business critical factor affecting the deployment of Windows NT in the enterprise is the skills issue," he said.

"Adding to the problem is the fact that more and more Microsoft certified engineers are lured away to other companies by lucrative salaries," he added.

According to Slavid, when it comes to the implementation itself, the gap between the supply and demand of Windows NT skills will continue to widen.

ICL recommends that, instead of attempting to imbue enterprise discipline on their younger NT staff, organizations should focus their energies on retraining their IT veteran engineers with enterprise skills so as to ensure that implementation meets their business needs.

-- y2k dave (, June 22, 1999


And pigs are gonna fly.

-- FLAME AWAY (, June 22, 1999.

Uh, . . .this may be slightly off topic, but hasn't there been a trend in MOST industries (since the 1980's) to get rid of the most highly experienced (translate: costs you more in health insurance, salaries, etc.) people?

If so, why would programming be any different?

I'll never forget watching good friends (wise, veteran reporters at a national news network that shall remain unnamed) being "bought out," in favor of "pretty" news anchors/reporters. The formula was: "Combine your age plus your experience with the network. The combination is your buy-out."

Well, . . .one of them still remains. Many folks listen to him every night. 'Gotta picture of he and I together on my office wall. 'Don't know how he managed to stay so long at the fair, but it may have had something to do with his practical roots. 'Nuff said.

Given human nature, I would think that many of these programming veterans might say (were they treated badly and forced to retire) "over my dead body."

I dunno. . .


-- FM (, June 22, 1999.

FM -

You raise an interesting point. Back in the days when network news had some weight to it, would they (i.e., Uncle Walter, David & Chet, etc.) have handled this Y2K story differently? I have a sense that network news dug deeper in the 60's and 70's than it does now, but that could just be nostalgia on my part. What think ye?

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 22, 1999.

I think the drug and sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's created a whole new generation of couch potatos with bongs in their hands and a shortage of brain cells, passed on to the next generation who wants a paycheck for their habits, somebody to tell them what to do and the government to take care of them. Just a thought. Reporters used to have ideals and high standards about their chosen know, like R.C.

-- Will continue (, June 22, 1999.

Well, I could go on forever on this subject Mac (and bore people to death in the process--so Ill try not to) but my feeling is that the reporting then (had we been faced with the Y2k issue at that time) would have been reflected by THE TIMES.

By that I mean, commercial breaks in the news were limited to about two minutes, maximum. Television news (local and national) was considered a "public service," rather than a money-maker.

Correspondents had time to reflect on what they were about to report--and make no mistake about it--they took their jobs very, very seriously. To be a "Network Correspondent" conveyed almost religious overtones. They were keepers of the public's trust. Edward R. Murrow, and his stellar and painful life was more than a memory to many.

I suspect--although I will never know for sure--that the bond between the government and the press would have prevailed to the point that the networks (only three at that time. . .and some would argue only one or two) would have been told the full and complete story by the highest level of federal government, and in exchange for full disclosure, the networks would have been asked to "craft" the story in such a way as not to panic people, but make certain that they were prepared. Then--I suspect, but do not know for certain--the journalistic standards of the day would have required some very deep soul searching--some of it in the company of colleagues at the local Washington D.C. "watering holes." There, they would have debated--off the record--much the same way people are debating here. What would have likely emerged was a relatively consistent story--always backed by reputable sources.

Watergate changed a lot of previous press protocol, as you know. Other factors have entered the picture as well.

News is now a "money-maker." Once management at the networks and local stations discovered its revenue potential, it was the beginning of a trend. Not necessarily the beginning of the end, but the beginning of a trend.

"How can you better explain this to "Joe Six-Pack?" became the cry of news producers across the country. TV News consulting became a hot industry. Over time, anchors were subjected to screenings by "focus groups." Was the anchor wearing the right clothing? What about the hair? Jewelry?

I will never forget one of the most hilarious experiences I've ever encountered when I was sent to a photo-op with some network news "heavy weights," only to discover that every male anchor in the room (there weren't many females at that time. I was one of the first) looked alike. The hair, the teeth, the suits. A room full of cookie cutter clones. That was in 1982. Why? Agents (I was represented at one time or another by two of the world's best known agents but that's a story for another day) and consultants. Numbers. Messages to local tv general managers and networks. "Here is how you get your ratings up! Snappy news reporting! No stories over 1:10 in length!" On, and on, and on. . .

And--to slightly modify one of Linda Ellerbee's most famous sayings. . "And so it went."

I wish there were a way to get Walter Cronkite to comment on Y2k. 'Don't think there's much of a chance of that, however. Sadly.


P.S. If Dr. W. Edwards Deming were alive today, you know what I think he would have said about this whole state of affairs?

"Told ya! Quality is a system. If you want quality, every part of the system has to work. Listen to your employees. They're doing the job, they know what they need to do the job better. (Like remediating code 12 years ago? Ummmm. . . .)

-- FM (, June 22, 1999.

Thanks for the insights, FM. Network news has become essentially just a commodity, and one of which I avail myself only infrequently. I prefer the combination of newspapers (including the WSJ), NPR, and perhaps ironically the ABCNEWS and CNN Websites, which contain far more detail on news items than is found in their nightly broadcasts. And of course, one can actually do primary source research using the Net...

David Brinkley is still with us, but I do miss Cronkite and Huntley, along with commentaries from folks like Eric Severeid and Howard K. Smith. None of 'em would have kept the gig nowadays, of course - not pretty enough...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 22, 1999.

ummmm Mac, last time I checked Walt was raising a Whole Lot of Dust.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, June 22, 1999.

LOL - I've buggered off, and I mentioned this to a former IBM senior analyst (my father in law).... he replied with a most "flowered" version of the Pigs gonna' fly statement....

Mr. K

-- Mr. Kennedy (, June 22, 1999.

FM, I have been reading this forum for a long time now. I have always been appreciative of your theories, mind and contributions. If I gave you the impression that I was referring to you, by my comments, I am sincerely sorry. It was never my intention to do so. My frustration is with the new generation found in today's media, and my heartfelt loss of those of you with any heart and strong ethic. This is, to me, an unacceptable loss in our current media and a contributing factor to the silence of Y2K. Again, I offer my apology for my poorly worded comments.

-- Will continue (, June 22, 1999.

I'm not sure how dated that article is, but calling in the old timers to re-think the engineering of complex business systems, at this late date, USING NT no flat out absurd. The 6 months remaining is not even ramp up time. Any serious y2k project not already started by now is laughable.

I'm a firm believer in "It ain't over til its over", but in this case, it's OVER.

-- a (a@a.a), June 22, 1999.


I read your posts on the press and I appreciate them greatly. It seems that my impression of the press is out-dated and I must adjust my thinking accordingly. Unfortunate.

-- Mike Lang (, June 22, 1999.

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