Y2K Problems Still Likely, Experts Say

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From Newsbytes dated 11/30 <:)=

By Sherman Fridman

As New Years Eve approaches there is still no agreement among pollsters, prognosticators, and pundits as to the catastrophic events, or lack of them, that will befall computer-dependent societies as clocks move beyond midnight to herald the arrival of January 1, 2000. An informal public-interest coalition comprised of CIO (chief information officer) magazine, ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), and the Y2K Center headed by Dr. Ed Yardeni, has just released the third in a series of Y2K Experts Polls which purports to reflect the first-hand knowledge of the world's top Y2K professionals.

According to Gary Beach, publisher of CIO magazine, "One in five large companies is racing to finish (Y2K preparedness) by the end of December. Some are going to make it, some aren't."

Beach also expressed concern that there will not be sufficient time for companies to adequately test and verify their Y2K preparedness work. "This concerns me," he said.

The Y2K Experts Poll claims to be a real-time snapshot of Y2K readiness among large, global firms, with an average of 1,261 suppliers and over 1,000 employees. The inaugural poll was conducted in June, the second in September. According to Karen Fogerty, a spokesperson for CIO Communications, Inc., the results of all three polls are consistent and this, coupled with the fact that the responses were anonymous, give a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the data collected by the Y2K Experts Poll.

According to the current poll, most firms are finished with their Y2K project work. Thirty-two percent report their Y2K projects were 100 percent complete, while 56 percent said that they were 91 to 99 percent done.

But, the poll also pointed out that many organizations are taking longer than expected to finish, with 57 percent indicating they need the last months of this year to finish their Y2K projects. This is an increase from 43 percent in September, and only 16 percent of respondents who felt that way in June.

Dr. Yardeni added a further word of caution by admitting that, by targeting large, global firms, the poll's sample was skewed to firms that should be in good shape. While acknowledging that most Y2K experts were optimistic, he did feel that there were some disquieting responses, such as the "numerous laggards in finishing the project and preparing contingency plans in time."

When asked about the readiness of their mission-critical systems, 59 percent of the respondents said that they expected these systems to function properly. However, there was the reported expectation that an average of 2 percent of the responding companies would experience failure or malfunctions in their mission-critical systems.

But, a separate report out today from RSA Companies - a Y2K technology resources provider - contains the caveat that standards and definitions of "mission critical" are highly subjective, and low percentage figures could be misleading.

While a majority of the Y2K experts polled by the coalition expressed confidence in electricity and telephone service, about one-third still expect problems in these areas. This is in contrast with the RSA Companies report, which concluded that this country's telephone systems appear to be well prepared for Y2K.

Most of the Y2K Experts Poll respondents have contingency plans for Y2K, and about one-third are implementing these plans. Michael Cangemi, former international president of ISACA noted, "It is clear these large businesses are expecting some form of disruption."

Thirty-six percent of the respondents believe that the Y2K problem is a non-event, and they are ignoring the hype, the poll found; but, over half of the respondents plan to stockpile extra food in their homes, with an eight-day supply being the average.

According to Dr. Yardeni, "The poll results suggest widespread optimism based on very little hard evidence." However, a further sign of less than widespread confidence is contained in the poll data indicating that about half of the respondents said they were required to be on duty the weekend of January 1, 2000, while one-third said they would be on-call.

The RSA Companies, with some exception, is also taking a cautionary approach. They have warned the public that small regional airports and distribution centers are not following a prudent timeline in regards to Y2K readiness, and that this could impact the small and medium size companies that depend on these facilities.

RSA also expresses concern about the federal government and the health care industry, stating that the federal government has yet to do end-to-end tests on roughly 40 major programs, including Medicare and state tax information exchange systems. In addition, RSA believes that many doctor's offices are not Y2K compliant and may not be able to receive payment from the federal government for services rendered.

In addition to being optimistic about the country's telephone systems, RSA also expressed confidence in major utilities as well as the transportation and financial sectors.

Further information on the November 1999 Y2K Experts Poll is available at http://www.peoplepolls.com/results/cio/111099.asp .

The Web site for RSA Companies is http://www.rsacompanies.com .

Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com

11:22 CST Reposted 11:45 CST

(19991130/ Press Contact: Karen Fogerty, 508-935-4091

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), December 01, 1999



Thanks for the post. I'm not in the least surprised...

-- (Kurt.Borzel@gems8.gov.bc.ca), December 01, 1999.

Seems that our friend Homer found a related story on 11/29 that goes into a little more detail. I've been swamped at work, and didn't notice it 'til now. <:)=


-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), December 01, 1999.

"Problems". So big friggin WHAT. "Problems" occur every day.

We've had "problems" here in eastern NC in the wake of Floyd that you folks can't begin to fathom. But we've made it through OK.

The Y2k Fear Movement is DEAD. BURIED. And starting to stink. Build a bridge, and get over it.

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), December 01, 1999.

your chicken shit is what stinks, bird brain. sleep well.

-- D E F (eattherich@mailcity.com), December 01, 1999.

Hi Chicken Little. Thanks for the reasoned and well argued input, but your post seemed to end prematurely. I'd like to read the part where you explain the similarity between a localised crisis with outside aid flooding in, and a global crisis in an increasingly insular and protectionist environment. Could you just pop that in here for us? Thanks!

-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), December 01, 1999.

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