Re: Debate : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I like the Heller/Hoffmeister debate. I won't step on it, but I couldn't help thinking- how many "function points" did it take to pull down MCI?

Apparently the Government is making plans for a lot of these events come January. They are seeing information we are not.

Also, how can any sort of metrics apply to an event that has no real precedent? It is one thing to talk about errors in IT projects based on a past history, however it seems to me as a nonexpert but nondumb observer, that the Y2K situation would not bear much relation to these past situations because of the difference in timing, scale, and type of errors, as well as their wide distribution. Wouldn't it make sense that IT errors would have a different outcome in a situation where all the other assets of the company were unaffected, allowing the engineers the ability to concentrate on the error, as opposed to a situation where multiple aspects of the buisness go blooey at once?

I'll be following the threads......Keep up the good work, guys.

-- Forrest Covington (, August 17, 1999


MCI is an excellent example, whether Y2k or not. The errors did not "pull-down" MCI; problems, yes. But MCI, last time I checked, was still in business.

I think you miss the whole point of the analysis, which was that currently, the number of simultaneous errors is at least as high as the number that will be experienced when the rollover happens.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.


Oh, yeah, except that everything else in intact (infrastructure, banks, power, traffic lights, etc., etc.), foreign sources of revenue are intact (China, Brazil, etc.) and embedded chips won't trip off Y2K till 01-01-00

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

Has anyone noticed exactly how they "fixed" the problem? They reverted to a previous release of the software. Question: what would happen if they tried this next January and the previous release wasn't Y2K compliant?

-- Steve Heller (, August 17, 1999.

These singular discussions reminds me of that biblical story on how many angels can dance on the head of a Pin, when the overall problem still is how many pins in how many haystacks..just for thought..

-- Les (, August 17, 1999.

OK, I will go read the debate post again. I can't help but wonder, though, what would have happened to MCI if more than one of their four switching nodes had gone down. Cutting off the CBOT for a week will expose them to some ferocious liability suits.

Also, would MCI go out of buisness per se, or would they just sell out to a compliant company?

I can accept the notion that bugginess is a part of systems, this is true of any technology. What happens, though, when lines of supply from Asia go out? Very few companies get anything from America anymore. Right now there is a problem with simple LCD displays that is jamming up the supply lines for laptop computers. One tiny thing, of course, but I would think that the economic consequences of a lot of this at once would be severe.

This is why I am dubious about the validity of netrics and statistics in this instance. Whether one quotes them for doomer or polly reasons, how can all of the related issues possibly be dealt with statistically?

Hurricane Analogy

When Fran came through here in '96, people had been lulled because the week before, the one starting with E (Emil? Edward? I forget) had been advertised by the Weather Service as having a %90 chance of making landfall, but instead it went out to sea. People had gone to the store for batteries and bread etc. but when the hurricane fizzled, they paid no attention to the little one that was right behind it, which the Weather Service originally said had only a remote chance of hitting land. Almost everyone, including me, was caught by surprise and unprepared. Now, as soon as we see the ominous curlyque on the weather map, we get busy. We don't even wait for it to hit the Caribbean. I went to the NOAA site once and they have a map where there is a red line showing the track taken by every hurricane since 1830 or so. It looks like my cat spit up a red hairball on the screen. Guess what? Even though hurricanes are old hat, there is no reliable statistical prediction method that will show you the path of a hurricane, or its speed, with any reliability more than 24 hours in advance. Granted, we know a lot more about them, and computer modeling helps, but to this day you are as likely to get the right answer from grizzled old sailors as you are from satellites.

I am giving this example just to show that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics" as Disraeli once said. I don't mean to imply that these metrics are useless, just that given the new type of event that y2k seems to be, these metrical debates might not be too much use.

I think I will shut up now because as my grandfather said, 'Keep your mouth shut and learn something'.

-- Forrest Covington (, August 17, 1999.

Thanks to both of you. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

-- Lilly (, August 17, 1999.

Yeah, my grandfather said the same thing;

"If that Forrest Covington would just keep his mouth shut he might learn something".

Maybe they knew each other!

-- Craig (, August 17, 1999.

Forrest buddy, relax! Don't worry a bit... The answer to your question can be found at the thread "Debate: Round 1" .

Hoffmeister=Spinmeister says that everything has been thought of already by Caper Jones as his analysis cover Fortune 10,000 companies and SMBs, federal and state governments, both domestic and FOREIGN.

I never thought that Hoff would make such a fool of himself...

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

I get the impression Craig is the youngish sort.

-- Forrest Covington (, August 17, 1999.

I don't think of Hoff as a 'fool'. We all have our opinions, but having read Hoff's part of the debate, and Heller's as well, I don't consider either of them to be foolish.

It's all speculation until we get there, isn't it?

-- Forrest Covington (, August 17, 1999.

I didn't say that Hoff was a "fool" .

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

Steve -

I think I missed something. Can you point me to where it says that the old software MCI reverted back to was Y2K compliant? Also, for a totally non-expert, can someone please answer a question that has been bothering me. If a company has 1000 systems that need to be checked and 600 are deemed to be mission critical, and a large number of non-mission critical systems (say 300 of the 400) are buggy, would that or could that large a number non-critical systems create as serious a problem as not getting the mission critical systems fixed? I guess, in other words, if a large enough number of non-critical systems which are seemingly being ignored in favor of critical systems are buggy, would it have a similar negative impact on the functionality of a company as a whole? (Hope you understand what I am asking - still doesn't sound right!)


-- Valkyrie (, August 17, 1999.


My understanding is that all non-critical systems could be erased and never used again and the mission could still be accomplished. Note that this means NO critical systems rely in any way on anything non- critical.

-- Flint (, August 17, 1999.

"I think you miss the whole point of the analysis, which was that currently, the number of simultaneous errors is at least as high as the number that will be experienced when the rollover happens." Hoff

But Hoff makes a huge assumption in his analysis. He assumes that all companies have honestly and acurately reported their Y2K predictions/time-tables and current status. Without those actual facts, his analysis is pure conjecture.

My conjecture is that, simply because of the fact that so much time, money and man hour is being spent on Y2K, and that this fact is an astronomical departure from the everyday "business as usual failure/fix/maintenance" percentage, that the percentage of y2k failures just before and after the roll-over cannot be the same percentage as the "business as usual", it has to be more. To say that the percentage will remain the same is to say that the Y2K bug does not exist. How much more remains the unanswered question.

I'm not a bean counter, but I know that A is A, and percentage analysis and number shuffling will not turn A into B.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

Chris, please point to where I said Y2k would be "business as usual".

The analysis assumed a large increase in errors at rollover. But it also acknowledges that we are currently undergoing an unprecedented number of system implementations, simultaneously, that at the very least are producing errors of the same magnitude as the rollover.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.

OK, my mistake with the poor choice of words for "business as usual". I should have said "business as usual since 1998", since this is your own starting point where this analysis is springing from.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

Hoff, I see YOU missed my point. I didn't say you said y2k was business as usual, I said "... and that this fact is an astronomical departure from the everyday "business as usual failure/fix/maintenance"" I'm comparing Y2K against the "business as usual" fixes/maintenance to make MY point.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

I guess, then, all I can say is to read the original post.

Its whole purpose was to explain exactly why I think the error rates are similiar.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.

Valkyrie, you are right.

As usual, Flint's assumptions and premises are unreal in today's competitive business environment. Almost EVERY system is critical actually, directly or indirectly. Otherwise it's simply scraped off.

There is no "fat" in today's business world. Supposedly "non- critical" systems actually feed into "mission critical systems" anyway.

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

"Its whole purpose was to explain exactly why I think the error rates are similiar."

Hoff, understood. On the same token, my post's purpose was to explain why I think your thinking is way off.

Valkyrie, Hoff has explained the non-mission critical systems in his original post that started his debate as being "dormant" with this paragraph:

"But a large portion of those systems deemed "non-critical" are in fact "dormant", or non-active systems. Yourdon makes this point in the referenced article. In this Capers Jones paper, The Global Economic Impact of the Year 2000 Software Problem, a study of IBM data centers found between 40% and 70% of the applications could be classified as "dormant", or not being run in over a year. While IBM may not be completely representative, a large portion of systems labelled "non-critical" are in fact those found to be dormant."

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

"As usual, Flint's assumptions and premises are unreal in today's competitive business environment."

Goerge, Flint probably read the same things I've read concerning a huge amount of old redundant code that big companies are not even aware that they still have in their code archives, and those being lumped in with the "billions of code lines to be fixed" estimates.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

Chris, you and Flint have to understand that "big companies" only mean 5% of jobs.

80% of jobs are in SMBs, worldwide. SMBs have very little non mission- critical code, worldwide. They can't afford it. They run a tighter ship by the way.

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

Hmmm. Well George, wouldn't it also be fair to say that SMB's are far less likely to be running custom developed software, and rely primarily on canned applications?

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.

Thanks guys and gals - you just reassured me...

"Nobody knows for sure..." Guess I'll head for town and get more gas, beans and batteries.

-- Valkyrie (, August 17, 1999.

Valkyrie (

I think I missed something. Can you point me to where it says that the old software MCI reverted back to was Y2K compliant?

It doesn't say one way or the other. However, since I have no information about when Lucent finished their Y2K remediation, if indeed they have done so, any software that they have been using for "a continued period of time" would certainly be questionable as to its Y2K status. Here's the relevant part of MCI's statement:

"Lucent has acknowledged full responsibility and confirmed that it was a software upload problem," Ebbers said, related to a network upgrade intended to allow the network to expand during the next several years to meet growing customer traffic demand. "We have gone back to a software load that we had run successfully for a continued period of time, and we have no plans to risk our network again," at least until the underlying cause of the software error is rooted out and fixed, Ebbers said.

-- Steve Heller (, August 17, 1999.

Outside the US? Definetly NOT Hoff.

You see Hoff, the problem keeps propping up over and over again. Do yourself a favor will ya: Open up the lid and stick your head out of the diet mayonaiise jar you are stuck in right now.

I can just imagine the "canned packages" available in Chernobyl power stations, or in logistics applications in the "Junta Nacional de Granos" of Argentina. If you dared to mention such terminology they would probably say: "Yeah, we got tuna fish cans allright!! Why? You don't have them in Amerika? You want some?!!

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

I see, George. Always willing to learn.

So tell me, what type of applications do they use?

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.

A bit too late to start learning at this late stage of the Y2K game don't you think Hoff?

Why didn't you try to find this out BEFORE trying to influence so many people into not preparing? How could you be soooo suuure of yourself ? The road to hell is paved with good intentions as you know.

To answer your question Hoff:

(1) In-house developed programs, believe it or not, most pretty old, spaghetti code today, source code of which does not exist in a large number of cases. Programmers are either retired, unwilling to do Y2K remediation for fees offered (very low) or dead.

(2) Some vendor software is also used but either many vendors have bankrupted or disappeared, or don't have the Y2K compliant version yet ('soon, real soon now') or SMBs cannot afford them under current financial/economic situation (there is a world-wide recession/depression going on Hoff, as you must surely know by now). Many more still, the vast majority, are either in the awareness stage or inventory/impact assesment stage.

Understand Hoff? Next time do your homework will ya?

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

Truly, George, you describe a dire set of circumstances.

"Old, spagehetti code". "No Programmers". "Vendors bankrupt".

So perhaps you can enlighten me as to just how reliable these systems are today?

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.

Careful Hoff, George is going to blow. I can just see the red face, the blood pressure rising, he's all over the Y2K playing field starting with code (old and no source), and it's too late and foreign status and and... There she blooooooows!

-- Maria (, August 17, 1999.

George, please turn down the condescending garbage, I'm not on Hoff's nor on Steve's side. Merely trying to extrapolate their debate. This debate started civilized, you're only showing intellectual shortcomings by not following the rules.

I said, "Flint probably read the same things I've read concerning a huge amount of old redundant code that big companies are not even aware that they still have in their code archives, and those being lumped in with the "billions of code lines to be fixed" estimates."

You said, "Chris, you and Flint have to understand that "big companies" only mean 5% of jobs.

80% of jobs are in SMBs, worldwide. SMBs have very little non mission- critical code, worldwide. They can't afford it. They run a tighter ship by the way."

I understand and agree with that. But you bring an orange to the table when I'm talking about an apple.

SMB's don't run on large mainframes. Their problem as a whole is not deciding what is their mission critical systems, but mainly being AWARE that they have a problem.

My statement was refering to the "dormant" code, or non-mission critical code specifically discussed in Hoff's analysis, which is often lumped in together with the mission critical systems when the "experts" talk about the "billion of code lines that big companies have to sift through." That's all I was saying. I'm not attempting to dissuade anyone from preparing and I'm not minimizing the SMB's problem.

Hoff and Steve are on Round 1 of the debate. There's still much more to go; the medium and small businesses, the embedded systems, the government etc.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.


you say that "SMBs don't run on mainframes". Well you are dead wrong Chris, yes they do. It's a globalized economy remember? and worldwide there are 50000 (fifty thousand) mainframes out there, a large chunk of which are needed to allow domestic and foreign SMBs to run everyday, every week, every month. Think foreign banks (many run by provincial governments), clearing houses, Customs (think US imports!!), insurance, social security, state oil companies (you wouldn't believe their level of Y2K awareness Chris, let alone remediation!), refineries, state phone companies, medicare, federal, provincial, municipal agencies, etc. These are SMBs. They are not Fortune 500, nor Fortune 1000, nor Fortune 10000 for that matter. Only 25% of code is in the US. This is reality, whether people know it or not, want it or not, believe it or not. America imports 60% of the oil it consumes from countries like these. Unfortunately, the peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich syndrome is quite prevalent in the US I'm afraid.


They are primitive but reliable, damn reliable I might add (after 15- 20-25-30 years of debugging!!) as long as you don't mess around with them. That's why they haven't done anything many times or are suffering major headaches with Y2K remediation schedule slippages. Many will not even test, even if they finish the first round of remediation. Reason: No more budget. (Do you guys read front page headlines very now and then?)

Productivity you ask? Low, very low sometimes, by US standards. That's the reason US competitiveness is outstanding. Not theirs, I'm afraid, many times obsolete, but that's what they've got.

As you say Hoff, that's a good part of "the rest" (75%). Glad to see yourself educated after all.

-- George (, August 17, 1999.


you've left on record how much you know about blowing, but this is Y2K my dear.

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

George, what a fine stew you've made of it all. The debate starts with a specific point, and you throw in the whole global shabang. Be patient, I'm sure Steve and Hoff aren't finished yet. You should be quiet and observe.

About the SMB' mean small businesses right? " insurance, social security, state oil companies"...Your definition of SMB's is radically different than mine. And you're radically off sync with what they're debating.

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 17, 1999.

No I'm not Chris. Think global. It's a globalized economy, never forget the peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-syndrome Chris. What you may consider to be an SMB (by US standards) can perfectly be one of the largest companies in say, Nigeria, or Argentina, or Indonesia. Think supplies, think Just-In-Time. Think foreign debt these countries owe us a lot of.

As an example, the US imports 60% of the crude oil it consumes (think gas lines Chris) from Nigeria, Venezuela, and Saudia Arabia. Now then, in these countries, what YOU would call SMBs run the show. And you betcha they do need mainframes and remediated code to keep business as usual come Jan. 2000. They have low levels of awareness at this late stage of the game. No programmers. No money. Clear now?

And as far as being patient Chris. Sure, I'm patient allright. The problem is misleading people into not preparing well enough. I wonder if they'll be patient when Y2K comes around and finds them unprepared. And what will YOU do if you have them as neighbors...

Food for thought Chris?

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

First, I'm sure the effects of Y2k will be greater internationally than here in the US. My intent is not to minimize the effects of Y2k, either internationally or here. But neither is my intent to blow Y2k completely out of proportion.

But George, this image you paint of "old", "reliable" "mainframes", running "customized" "spaghetti code" "without source", or "programmers", in small and medium size businesses, just doesn't fly.

How old are these "mainframes"? These systems used to be prohibitively costly, especially for what anyone would reasonably term a "Small or Medium" sized business. Not to mention the support staff; last I looked, mainframes didn't exactly run on auto-pilot. And this is especially true of the older systems.

What kind of applications are these? They surely must have had much better programmers than we used here in the states. The systems I've been involved with that fit this description were anything but reliable. And required a veritable army of programmers to support. A wholesale billing system, for example, required 15 programmers just to get through month-end, with the inevitable abends, reruns, and modifications. And this system had been running and debugged for 15 years.

Are these applications ever updated? If so, how is that done without source code? Yes, some systems have missing code, but invariably these tend to be "utility" type functions, or applications that were written to perform very specialized tasks. And if they aren't updated, how do they keep up with the inevitable changes required by external partners? Or are these truly "standalone" systems, with no connections, and as such pose no real "systemic" risk to others?

Always willing to learn, George.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.


The problem is, you hyper-rational first-world people just don't understand *magic*. In your world, mainframe systems are kept running by staffs of knowledgeable, talented people doing what's possible. In countries like Argentina, they know better. You don't need all this logic. You can extend, enhance, modify, debug, update and upgrade *all without either source or programmers* by casting the right runes, chanting long-forgotten phrases, and even sacrificing a few virgins (under precisely the right auspices, unknown to the decadent West).

The problem is, all the magic will run out at Rollover Midnight, turning all these programs and "mainframes" into pumpkins immune to the strongest magic. And there's nothing we can do about it.

-- Flint (, August 17, 1999.


No sir, you certainly don't run the risk of blowing Y2K out of proportion. Your very high risk though is convincing yourself, and others, that Y2K will be a bump in the road, which is what you are actively trying to do. Your hidden agenda is the key to understanding your attitude.


"SMB" means Small & Medium Size Businesses, 300-2000 employees, give or take a couple of hundred depending upon the author. For example, the Central Bank of a key Middle East country employs 450 people. It is an SMB, by any standard. The largest seamless tubing manufacturer South of the Equator employs 1500 people. It is also an SMB. One of the main State oil companies that exports oil to the US employs 12000 people. All three badly need mainframes that are currently running on Y2K non-compliant code. There are 50000 (fifty thousand) mainframes out there, loose, many in SMBs both domestic and foreign. Only 25% of the code runs within the US. I guess you know all of this Hoff, or at least you should, but somehow you tend to forget, so that's why I repeat it. It's worthwhile, don't you think?

These mainframes (many government owned) are many years old, but were never purchased brand new, of course. That's International Economics 101. Allways pretty much obsolete, including a lot of corruption in the process, from both buyers and sellers, of course.

These mainframes today have abundant personnel for maintenance purposes, but not for Y2K remediation. Some institutions have contracted outside help, with little money. "Super-critical" systems is what they would be trying to fix many times. "Super-critical" is even more important than mission critical, they say. Beats me, don't ask (they wouldn't know either). Others are in inventory and impact assessment stage. Some not even that.

You ask what "systemic risk" they pose, Hoff ? Well, for example, if banking transactions stop, or if "Accounts Payable" stop, or if their customs gets screwed up, the US doesn't get crude oil and doesn't get paid the foreign debt these countries owe us. You wouldn't want either one, believe me. Neither would Flint, but he has already taken all his money out of the bank and has made clear that he would withdraw even more if he could, which makes him feel exempt from neighbors et al come Jan. 2000, poor soul.

So Hoff, yes, these "old" "mainframes" are "reliable" for current use and purposes under local circumstances only (of course), and they do run "spaghetti code" although much of "source code" may also be missing, yes.

Glad to see your willingness to keep learning Hoff.

Flint, old buddy

You gotta drop Y2K man, it's too much for ya. Just try to talk Marma into making your life more enjoyable. She's already made clear what her field of expertise is all about.

Take care guys.

-- George (, August 17, 1999.


There is no hidden agenda at all. Hoff believes that (at least for most of us) y2k *will* be a bump in the road. I agree with him. In a year, you will too (although from your track record, your way of admitting error will be to attack someone else. I notice every time you're shown to be obviously wrong, you attack).

Meanwhile, your claims of doom remain mutually exclusive. You can't debug without programmers. You can't run a business without source code. You can't upgrade if your vendors have gone broke, and you can't communicate with your suppliers and customers if you can't upgrade. Remediation is essentially a maintenance task, yet you argue that these magic programming non-programmers are able to maintain but not remediate! Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

Ultimately, businesses in such sad shape as you describe cannot remain in business long, because they can't be competitive, unless they are subsidized by the government. But in that case, you might as well have armies of people doing things manually, you won't lose much productivity compared to a system that's long since effectively broken down. From your description, a lot is being done manually already, since obsolete code from defunct vendors without source isn't a viable option.

So far, I have yet to see any hint that you've actually been there and done that. You cite woolly overviews from congenial sources, and make nonsensical statements. You ask questions that make sense only if your fantasies are true, and accuse others of not answering them! And you describe conditions that cannot be possible, as being normal. Who (besides yourself) do you think is being fooled?

-- Flint (, August 17, 1999.

See, George, there's your problem.

So they do have source code. At least the ones employing these maintenance programmers. And wait, they also have programmers. And apparently have heard of Y2k.

And are apparently medium sized businesses. The problem is you start by throwing around stats like "80% of jobs are in SMBs", then talk about mainframes and such in "SMBs", when you're actually only talking about medium sized businesses. Want to take a look at just how much of that 80% figure is actually small business, an area you apparently aren't talking about?

Not to mention the Northian view that, Y2k problems = complete stop of crude oil.

See George, that's my problem, in a nutshell. Yes, Y2k is a problem. Yes, it's even more of a problem internationally. Enough of an actual problem, even, that it doesn't need to be exaggerated and overhyped.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.


Category II (33% of companies --all sizes-- with MISSION CRITICAL failures come Jan 2000) includes Japan, Brazil, France, Finland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan, Spain, Singapore, South Korea.

That's THIRTY THREE PER CENT of companies.

Category III (50% of companies --all sizes-- with MISSION CRITICAL failures come Jan. 2000) includes Austria, Argentina, Colombia, Germany, India, Kuwait, North Korea, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, etc.

That's FIFTY PER CENT of companies

Category IV (66% of companies --all sizes-- with MISSION CRITICAL failures come Jan 2000) includes Bahrain, CHINA, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, RUSSIA, etc.

That's TWO THIRDS of companies (what's left?)

I rest my case. I've got to get some work done guys. Today I've been running in and out of airports but still able to follow this and other threads. Tomorrow I'll be still busier and away from my lap- top. Take care, as usual. I enjoyed your company. Good luck fellows, you'll need it.

Flint, if you and Hoff are here posting on a 24 x 7 x 365 schedule as you are, there is no way you'll convince anyone that you don't have a hidden agenda of great interest to you, don't you think?

-- George (, August 17, 1999.

George, I'd try to explain to you why a "mission-critical" failure doesn't equate to "business" failure, complete stoppage of crude, etc, but I'm sure you won't believe me.

Maybe Ed Yourdon? TQ

It's not a binary, all-or-nothing situation. Even in good times, I think you'll find that only 99% of the mission-critical systems in a large company are working. There's always a problem somewhere, always a glitch with one or more computers, vendors, business partners, etc.

The significant question is "what percentage of your mission-critical systems do you expect to have fully remediated and tested? I'm working on a survey now that's similar to the Cap Gemini survey -- and mine indicates that approx 92.7% of the organizations believe that 99-100% of their mission critical systems will be fully remediated and tested. That's the good news ...

The bad news is that approx 1% believe that less than half of their mission-critical systems will be ready; and approx 6% believe that 90% or less of their mission-critical systems will be ready. The remaining 1% believe that somewhere between 90% and 99% will be ready.

Even if half of the mission-critical systems are NOT ready, that doesn't necessarily imply that the business will shut down right away (on the other hand, the failure of even a single mission-critical system might do the trick, depending on the circumstances). But for most companies, the other key question to ask is, "If you discover that a mission-critical system is broken on January 1, 2000, how long will it take to fix?" Everyone can guess and predict and prognosticate ... but there is very little "hard" data out there to back it up.


-- Ed Yourdon (, August 12, 1999.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 17, 1999.


(1) Of course that "mission critical" failure does not necessarily equate to "business failure" (although it could, depending upon circumstances). So what? It's still a hell of a problem under Y2K scenarios as a "mission critical" failure has higher chances of becoming a 'show stopper' that day, that week, that month, meaning such organization does not deliver the product(s) or service to YOU. And we better not have much of that happening, or else. And "show stoppers" can become business failures eventually, of course.

(2) Ed Yourdon, Cap Gemini have undertaken such surveys in the USA. I did not even mention the USA. We are talking worldwide. "The rest" counts a whole lot guys, actually 60-80% of Fortune 500 revenue comes from abroad. Do you believe Hoff that if such surveys were run worldwide you would find that 92.7% of organizations would have 99% of their "mission critical" systems ready? (whatever 'ready' might mean?). And what good would averages be for anyway?

Guys, I gotta kiss my wife and get some sleep...

-- George (, August 18, 1999.

Hey guys, whole day, no news!

I suggest you read the spanking new Gartner Report thread which specifically focuses on why Hoff's basic underpinnings are a falacy at the best (point 4). Interesting to see how the timing worked out with such precision.

Take care

-- George (, August 19, 1999.

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