*Michael Hyatt* - What about my local providers? --greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1999
By Michael Hyatt
What about my local providers?
I'm often asked by people how they can find out about how their local providers are doing. The short answer is you probably can't. I'm not saying you can't get some kind of answer; I'm simply suggesting that you probably can't get an answer that is meaningful. Here's why:
1.The information you receive will be carefully filtered. You probably won't be able to talk with the programmers themselves or the Y2K project manager. The best you can do is obtain a statement from the public relations department. Even this will have been carefully reviewed by the legal department. Because companies do not want to lose customers, alarm investors, or deflate employee morale, they will generally report that they are making "good progress" -- regardless of where they really are. (I dare you to find a company willing to admit that they are in trouble.) As a result, it is important that you not make the mistake of confusing progress with compliance. These are not the same.
2.You probably cannot get independent verification. Nearly all the data available is self-reported. It has probably not been independently verified. Providers are asking us to take their word for it. While I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, I've worked in corporate America long enough to know that managers under pressure are tempted to distort the truth and overstate their progress. Taking the word of the people in charge is like asking students to grade their own tests. I continue to be amazed at how naive reporters are in this matter. Some company issues a press release saying they are close to being compliant and journalists uncritically report the claim as though it were gospel truth. As I've said before, where is investigative journalism when you need it?
3.The provider is dependent on infrastructure it can't control. Even assuming that a company or government agency is making good progress and telling the public the truth, it is dependent on suppliers outside of its direct control. These suppliers must be compliant or the company will have to find alternative suppliers. In some situations, this will be impossible, especially when it comes to basic infrastructure services. As an example, consider the Social Security Administration (SSA). This is one federal agency that has worked long and hard to achieve its present Y2K-compliant status. I happen to believe that their claim to compliance is legitimate. However, without reliable electricity to keep their computers online, telecommunications to make electronic fund transfers possible, the Financial Management Service (FMS) to print the checks, and banks to receive those funds, SSA's compliance is irrelevant -- beneficiaries still won't have access to their funds.
The bottom line is that it is probably a waste of time to spend much time trying to find out whether or not your favorite provider is going to make it. Even if you could know the truth, it's no guarantee that the provider will be able to deliver their goods or services. As a result, I think your time is better spent making contingency plans. Assume that there will be disruptions and plan accordingly.
-- snooze button (email@example.com), December 23, 1999
but...but...Kosky told us to call! ;-)
-- cgbg jr (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 1999.
I am including the URL for my ISP on their Y2K status. I carefully read the entire piece and NOWHERE did I see that they have tested their system for compliance. It is interesting to note how they use the disclaimer that their hardware and software suppliers all claim Y2K compatability. It is also an interesting note regarding "acts of GOD".
What was really eye-catching was the statement about Southwestern Bell Telephone who supplies the landline aspect. You really should check this out as it will give you a little insight as to how the communication companies "might" be fairing.
-- Concerned (email@example.com), December 23, 1999.
This issue of getting real information has been one of the major stumbling blocks for Y2K community organizations. Marching on some power generation plant serves nothing, and takes away credibility for community minded organizations. The end result is web pages that parrot existing information.
This forum, for all its eccentricity (I am still steamed about Decker's post), is the best place to get a real handle on what is going on.
-- Nancy (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 1999.