Aetna reports: Y2K - Worth Every Penny : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thanks to Virginia Hirsch for passing along this article from: Aetna Perspective - A Financial Education Newsletter, Spring, 2000

Y2K - Worth Every Penny

Theres no question American businesses, Aetna among them, built a mighty dike against the threatened roiling waters of a Y2K techno-meltdown. But how real was the threat? And does that dike have any value now?

The treat was real. Only a massive effort and investment in remediation saved U.S. companies from serious damage. The smattering of Year 2000 glitches that came to light in the early days of January provides a tantalizing taste of what might have been:

7 The Pentagon sent 230 vendors checks on January 4 backdated to 1900 7 Spy satellites were momentarily (or not so momentarily?) blinded 7 Swedish-built dialysis equipment malfunctioned 7 A radiation alarm system at a Japanese nuclear plant went off-line for 17 hours 7 Arkansas nuclear plant workers were locked out of their factory by a non-Y2K compliant radiation monitoring system

White House Y2K czar John Koskinen told the Associated Press of an unscientific experiment conducted in one state: three noncompliant systems that had already been replaced were left running through the changeover to 2000. Like clockwork, the systems seized at midnight. "Those systems simply stopped and became unusable," said Koskinen.

Now, with the danger all but passed, some armchair quarterbacks argue that too much was spent for too little benefit. Theyre wrong. Aetna Financial Services Year 2000 program bought our customers a smooth transition to the new century. Beyond that, the program will yield benefits for our employees, business partners and customers well into the new decade.

For starters, the Year 2000 program accelerated the introduction of newer, more reliable and more user-friendly technologies. Point-and-click, web-based systems replaced antiquated mainframe programs. The microscopic analysis of our huge base of computer code weeded out millions of lines. We streamlined programs that will now run faster and more dependably, causing fewer errors and supporting better service.

The pace of technological change in the last quarter of the 20th Century was incessant; the growth in systems, organic. No business could afford to freeze the pace of change and undertake a thorough cataloging of its technology. Year 2000 concerns forced everyone to do it. Never before have companies understood their systems so well: the strengths, weaknesses, interdependencies and linkages. Well all put the lessons learned from Y2K to good use in the 21st Century.

-- Jan Nickerson (, April 12, 2000

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