Question : Impact 2000 - What is the Challenge and how did
The scope of the "Year 2000 Challenge" spans the entire
Information Technology industry. The phenomenon exists because
for decades is has been common practice to use two digits instead
of four when writing dates. This carried over when writing computer
programs, especially when it comes to minimise expensive memory
space and data entry time. However common this practice, it causes
computer software performing arithmetic operations or sorting
of data fields to yield incorrect result when working with year
A data mismatch can exist in any level of hardware or software
from micro code to applications programs, in files and databases,
and is present on ALL platforms. In recent years, the IT trade
press has given ever greater attention to this phenomenon within
increasingly ominous article titles.
Question : Impact 2000 - What actually happens if the Year
2000 issue isn't corrected?
However dramatic all this may sound, consider the following scenarios to help put the phenomenon and its business ramification into perspective.
Imagine in the first quarter of the Year 2000 you company cannot
process its 1999 end-of-year billing or end-of-year payroll properly;
your corporate credit card holders are refused most transactions
because their accounts appear delinquent; your 1999 year-end profit
data cannot be calculated properly; and your utility companies
cut off their services due to your apparent late bill payments.
Similarly your household and personal financial situation could
encounter similar dilemma if your creditors do not also strive
to meet this challenge.
Referred to "Year 2000 Challenge" or the "Year
2000 Problem", this is really a 2 digit year problem. Your
IS organisation needs to plan for, and address, the data changes
well in advance of January 1, 2000.
Question : Impact 2000 - Why rush - Why can't customers fix
their problems and become "Year 2000 Ready" in 1998
Many customers may run out of time and not be able to alter their
application portfolio if they wait. Also, the Year 2000 problem
is already beginning to surface for some customers and will occur
more frequently as we approach the Year 2000.
Question : Impact 2000 - Are there estimates on how difficult,
how long and how much it will cost a company to become Year 2000
For many organisations you can expect the initial size of this
Impact 2000 work effort to appear overwhelming and the overall
project to appear enormous or unreasonable, as it should.
THIS IS NOT A TRIVIAL PROJECT.
Expect the need for your sponsorship to dedicate personnel, dedicate
computer resources, approve the requisition of potential Solution
Developer Tools and/or services support, and to budget to fund
it all. Making applications and system software "Year 2000
Ready" is a type of redevelopment project, the scope of which
depends upon the size and amount of software being used.
Gartner Group Consultants have estimated that a typical mid-size
company could spend as much as $3 million to $4 million personnel
and computer resources to make the changes. They add that large
companies or organisations could spend ten times that or more.
Desktop and Small Office / Home Office computer users will have
to contact their vendors and suppliers to see what desktop software
is "Year 2000 Ready".
The solutions are not particularly difficult to implement and
the technical solutions are not complex when viewed on a program-by-program
It is the overall project size and the program / data inter-relationships
that introduces the true project complexity. Expect the need to
appoint a cross-department and cross-divisional focal point to
manage it all.