British Airways suppliers and Data Exchange Interfaces : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I sent the following email to British Airways a couple of days ago:

'Dear Sir,

It is with great interest that I have read the contents of the section in your website entitled 'Counteracting the Millennium bug'. British Airways should be congratulated for the successful completion of this complex and costly project. (

Nevertheless, there are two further questions about the project that I would be glad if you would answer.

In the section entitled 'Working together - the only way' it states that:

'Around 1,800 large suppliers have been contacted about steps that they are taking to be compliant.'

Has British Airways now received guarantees from each of the suppliers that have been contacted that they are indeed now compliant?.

The second question relates to the section entitled 'Spring 1999 update'.

In the paragraph entitled 'Suppliers' (under the heading 'The IT Programme') it states that:

'We have contacted more than 300 suppliers and third parties with whom we exchange data electronically to agree on compliancy definitions for data and have conducted tests on critical links in our systems. These include links with travel agents and financial institutions.'

Have all the compliancy definitions referred to in this paragraph now been agreed upon?.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours Sincerely, Richard Clark'

Today I received a telephone call from a British Airways representative.

He started by asking me if I was representing any company or organisation. I replied that no I had sent the email as a private citizen. He then said that the reason he was phoning rather than sending an email was because the answers to the questions depended on the precise meaning of 'guarantee'. Some had given BA a legally binding guarantee, some hadn't. It wasn't clear from his answer whether all 1,800 or so suppliers had actually responded to BA's original contact with them.

He then said that the same held for the data interfaces: Some had sent guarantees, some hadn't. He then said that the question of guarantees was in any case now superfluous because most of the interfaces were now in use and it was possible to see that they were working. I found it a bit strange that he answered the question about data interfaces in this way since the question was about agreements on data formats, not guarantees.

Our conversation ended with me suggesting that even if BA is completely compliant, it could still have problems if companies who supply them or share data with them are not.

I wonder how well the Federal Reserve's 316,862 ( or the Chase Manhattan Bank's 2,900 ( data exchange interfaces, or General Motors' 90,000 or so suppliers are faring.

-- Richard Clark (, January 14, 2000

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