Some countries criticize the GartnerGroup's Y2K ratingsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The great dilemma of Y2K...who has the most accurate information about the problem?
-- Linkmeister (email@example.com), November 27, 1999
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Friday November 26 2:35 PM ET
U.S. Group's Y2K Ratings Criticized
By PAT REBER Associated Press Writer
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Technology consultants GartnerGroup are among the world leaders in promoting awareness of the Year 2000 computer bug, advising global corporations, foreign governments and the U.S. Senate.
It won't be long before we learn the accuracy of the country-by- country Y2K readiness ratings by the Stamford, Conn.-based company. But in the meantime, some countries are complaining the Gartner ratings have unfairly damaged their international image, perhaps even hurting foreign investment.
``GartnerGroup has a vested interest in stirring up panic,'' said Jamaica's government Y2K coordinator, Luke Jackson, who said he was never approached by anyone representing the company. ``They're consultants. That's what they do.''
Although Jackson did not specifically blame Gartner for harming his country, South African officials complained earlier this year after the international grain trader Cargill mentioned a Gartner report as influencing its decision to suspend deliveries to this country for two weeks over New Year's.
At the time, the Reserve Bank's top Y2K official, Louis Erlank, told a newspaper that Gartner clients ``now see South Africa as a high risk to investment.''
South Africa did fare better in a recent ranking by Britain's International Monitoring. The technology consulting group put South Africa in the category of ``better prepared,'' one below the category of countries deemed least at risk.
And South Africa eventually received a good rating from Gartner. But the incident underscores investor jitters over just how thoroughly many developing countries have stamped out the millennium bug - in which computer programs designed to read only the last two digits of a year mistake ``00'' for 1900 instead of 2000.
The Y2K bug is a costly one: More than $100 billion has been spent in the United States alone to reprogram computers so they don't cause chaos.
Gartner analysts have frequently been relied on as judges of who's ready and who's not. That's because little independent verification on Y2K fixes is available in most countries - especially when it comes to public sector readiness. Most governments have simply not subjected their Y2K programs to outside audits.
Gartner defends its reports, saying it relies on thousands of its own clients and other private firms in judging Y2K compliance - and think that makes it among the most qualified to judge where the millennium bug might cause failures in essential systems like phones, electricity, water and medical devices.
The technology consultants also insist that, in the interests of getting the best and most exhaustive information possible on Y2K readiness, they are obliged to keep their sources confidential.
``Oddly enough, we have not received any complaints from countries that we position with average, or better-than-average ranking,'' said Lou Marcoccio, a research director at Gartner, which has 4,000 employees worldwide and had annual revenues of $642 million in 1998.
Nor has Gartner received any complaints from multinational corporations or international business associations, added Marcoccio.
Nonetheless, Ecuador is still fuming over the distribution by a U.S. Senate committee of a Gartner evaluation last year that had the country lagging far behind in readiness. In Gartner's most recent report, Ecuador was shown as improving but still considered problematic.
``The conclusions of this report are inaccurate,'' protested Jacqueline Herrera, national coordinator of Ecuador's Y2K program. ``Gartner doesn't have an office in our country. They never called me.''
``One must take into account that (GartnerGroup) are in business,'' said Renato Orellana, a U.N. official in Chile who advises South American countries on Y2K issues. ``There is some concern about their independence.''
But Gartner officials say such accusations are unfair, considering the nature of what they do.
``We do not do remediation work, implementation work or provide hardware/software solutions,'' Marcoccio said in an e-mail. ``We only provide advice.''
Marcoccio and other Gartner officials consider that their efforts have encouraged software repairs that may well make the rollover to 2000 anticlimactic.
Take Gartner's latest report. It predicts that public panic and computer viruses will have more impact than the millennium bug in January.
And as for Jan. 1, Gartner predicts that ``except for isolated outages, isolated terrorist events and panic in some countries, the day should be relatively uneventful in many regions.''
-- Linkmeister (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 1999.
Gartner group meeting synopsis:
" ...meeting today. Guest speaker was Matthew Hotle, Vice President & Research Director of Gartner Group. Spent about 2 hours discussing Y2K issues & concerns. I personally attended this meeting.
"1. 25% of Y2K problems should occur by the end of Dec. 1999. 55% of Y2K problems will occur during 2000. 10% (of the 55%) of Y2K issues will occur during the first two weeks of '00. Most problems occuring during this time period will be found & fixed within 72 hours. Expect "spikes" of Y2K issues throughout 2000 - whoever said "the gift that keeps on giving..." is right on the money."
"2. During key dates (such as 1st batch cycles, etc...) have people placed in key areas to monitor quality and manual workarounds. With critical transactions, be prepared to do personal walk-throughs. Dedicate 1 person for each critical function. Perhaps increased work."
"3. On 12/31 & 1/1, expect problem spikes at 12:00 Greenwich Meridian Time (about 8 p.m. E.S.T., I think) and 12:00 local time. 4 out of 5 Y2K issues will be caused by corrupted data, not hard failures."
"4. Corporations inventory build-up isn't happening at what Gartner thought it would be. J.I.T. (just in time) inventory isn't increased as to what it should be (a couple of weeks) because of not enough $$$ or space. An example was of a leading auto company in Detroit - their on-hand J.I.T. inventory is 4 HOURS worth of materials."
"However, a chart that Gartner produced said that 70% of companies have placed orders for added inventory... (Makes me wonder what point is correct?)"
"Hotle did also say that some companies are stockpiling some critical items, but not all items needed in the process."
"5. Thinking about intra-industry (within same industry) companies helping one another out? Hotle gave an example of the food industry. A few companies are stockpiling food containers - not only for themselves, but ALSO to shut-out their competition from having the needed supplies. Hotle called it "predatory issues" in our current marketplace."
"6. World Status: Depends on veracity of data sources. Gartner compared surveys with contacts from clients, phone calls, etc... Where information from different sources co-incides, then probably close to the truth."
"Gartner gave "slide-rule" indicators of how countries are doing, from "Level 1" (just started) to "Level 5" (almost done) ranges. This wasn't very useful - it didn't tell how many companies in a country were "poor" or what sectors were affected. Some countries were better than others, from "Level 3" to "Level 5", but again, nothing definitive."
"He said that thought oil wouldn't be much of a problem. I wondered if he thought these countries' reports were accurate. Brought up the issue of Venezuelan oil (Guri dam - 70% of electricity expected to be affected). He then said that a lot of politics, etc... but never really answered my question."
"7. Gartner more concerned about small-mid sized trucking companies - thinks they've got serious concerns. Also concerned about railroad track switches... (Never mentioned merger issues - CCX & Conrail. Didn't get a chance to ask that question.)"
"8. He told people to prepare for what they feel is right. Told them to do their own research. Also said to check out the BBS' - funny stuff he said. (I thought it was interesting that he paid attention to the BBS' since it seems like he thought that much info wouldn't be coming from there."
"9. He (Hotle)expects 1 or 2 terrorist incidents. Didn't go into detail."
"10. Concerned about $$$ withdrawal. Admitted that he would make fun of those people. Was very concerned about $$$ being stolen from home."
"11. Expects Y2K to be media driven, gas prices to rise, and more pre- Y2K panic than post-Y2K panic. (Here Y2K = 1/1/00.)"
"-- Youguess Who (email@example.com), November 10, 1999"
-- Youguess Who (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 1999.
Never mind what they say, the message doesn't matter. It's those damn bearers of bad news.
-- Wildweasel (email@example.com), November 27, 1999.
Not to worry. "They'll" all blame Gartner Group.
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 28, 1999.
Gartner analysts have frequently been relied on as judges of who's ready and who's not.
That's because little independent verification on Y2K fixes is available in most countries - especially when it comes to public sector readiness. Most governments have simply not subjected their Y2K programs to outside audits.
Duh...........No Sh** Sherlocks - and the US has?
-- potkettleblack (email@example.com), November 28, 1999.