.. s the leader in Year 2000 awareness: Such a tool would be wonderful. Such a tool would be worth billions of dollars. Such a tool, is a naive pipe dream. Could someone come close? Not very .. Could something reduce this problem by 90%? I don’t believe so.
Could it reduce the problem by 50%? Possibly .. but I still don’t believe so. Could it reduce the workload by 30%? Quite likely. (Biting Jager) How will this affect society and the industry in 2000? How stable will software design companies be as more and more competitors offer huge “incentives” for people to leave their current jobs and go work for another company on their problems? As more and more businesses decide to confront this problem, the demand for computer programmers is expected to skyrocket. Recruitment will be at an all time high. Some estimates report that programmers, especially those experienced in the COBOL programming language, are expected to make between $150,000 and $200,000 a year for their knowledge in combating Y2K. Some experts even feel that IS specialists will be able to name their price, as companies will pay any price to keep their business afloat.
Competition will be fierce as the race to market a solution to combat Y2K continues. Liability issues may arise if a company withdraws an offer on a deal because of a computer glitch. Predictions say that the stock market will decline 40% in 1998-99 as concerns over the viability of the banking system and the ability of governments to deliver basic services will panic investors. In addition, the U.S. income tax system will be simplified with a form of flat tax because IRS computers will not be functional in 2000, causing changes in the tax code (Westergaard).
This is a wide spread scenario because the Y2K problem will affect all these elements and more. Due to society’s dependence on computers, the failure of the systems to operate correctly can mean anything from minor inconveniences to major catastrophes. These include licenses and permits not issued, payroll and social service checks not cut, personnel, medical and academic records malfunctioning, errors in banking and finance, accounts not paid or received, inventory not maintained, weapon systems malfunctioning; the list goes on. It is highly unlikely that an individual will be unaffected by Y2K. The Gartner Group, a product development company focused on mid-level technology applications, has made the following estimates: At $450 to $600 per affected computer program, it is estimated that a medium size company will spend from $3.6 to $4.2 million to make the software conversion.
The cost per line of code is estimated to be $.80 to $1. Viasoft, which helps Fortune 1000 and similarly sized organizations worldwide understand, manage and develop the software applications that run their businesses, has seen program conversion cost rise to $572 to $1,204. Andersen Consulting, a global management and technology consulting organization, estimates that it will take them more than 12,000 working days to correct its existing applications. Estimates for the correction of this problem in the United States alone is around $50 to $75 billion (ITAA). Is it possible to eliminate the problem? Probably not, but the transition can be made much smoother with cooperation and the right approach. Companies and government agencies must understand the nature of the problem.
Ignoring the obvious is not the way to approach this problem. To assume that the problem will be corrected when the system is replaced is a judgement that may cost companies a lot of money. Correcting the situation may not be so difficult as it will be time consuming. For instance, the Social Security Administration estimates that it will spend “300 man-years finding and correcting these date references in their information systems – systems representing a total of 30 million lines of code” (ITAA). One of the largest software manufacturing corporations, Microsoft, is very aware of its customer concerns with MS products. They claim they have been thinking about the year 2000 problem since day one.
They claim with the initial MS-DOS operating system, Microsoft incorporated the capability to handle dates well into the next century. Microsoft say Windows 95 and Windows NT are capable of supporting dates up until the year 2099, and recommend upgrading all Microsoft products to at least the 1997 releases. Microsoft further states that its development tools and database management systems provide the flexibility for the user to represent dates in many different ways (Microsoft). Proper training of developers to use date formats that accommodate the transition to the year 2000 is very important. So is everyone affected? Apparently not. After a brief discussion with a technician of EZL DOT COM, an Internet-Access provider based in Edwardsville, I found out that they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the year 2000.
They had enough foresight to make sure that when they purchased their equipment and related software, that it would all be year 2000 compliant. This company shows that this “bug” can be beaten. The key is to become informed and to stay informed. Affect the changes you can now, and look to remedy those that you cannot. The year 2000 will be a roller coaster for many businesses, but EZL DOT COM seem to have it under control and are holding party hats in one hand and the mouse in the other.
As is obviously clear from the information presented, Y2K is a problem to be taken seriously. The wide range of systems (OS) and software on the market lead many to believe the idea that a silver bullet fix will cure this “media hyped catastrophe.” This is not however, a hopeless problem. Proper training and design is needed, as well as numerous man-hours to effect the repairs needed to overcome the problems that will undoubtedly occur if no action is taken. The “sit back and wait for a cure-all” approach will not work. Action should have been taken 10 years ago. Whatever may happen, January 1, 2000 will be an interesting time full of headaches and setbacks for some and a relief for others. Hopefully the necessary “repairs” will be made and the word will be passed on to the others who may be taking this a little too lightly.
It may not be a matter of life or death, but it sure could mean your job and financial future. Bibliography Duvall, Jed. The year 2000 does not compute. Online. Http://cnn.com/news/TECH/9601/2000/index.html. 3 Nov. 1996.
Elgan, Mike. Experts bemoan the denial of ‘2000 bug’. Online. Http://cnn.com/TECH/9610/13/year.2000.bug/index.ht ml. 13 Oct. 1996.
EZL DOT COM Technical Support. “Are you year 2000 compliant?” E-mail to the author. 3 Feb. 1998. ITAA. The Year 2000 Software Conversion: Issues and Observations.
Online. Http://www.itta.org/yr2000-1.htm. 7 Nov. 1996. Jager, Peter de. “Believe me it’s real! Early Warning.” Online. Http://www.year2000.com/archive/Nfbelieveme.html. 4 Nov. 1996 — Biting the Silver Bullet.
Online. Http://www.year2000.com/archive/Nfbullet.html. 2 Nov. 1996. —. DOOMSDAY 2000.
Computer World. 6 Sept. 1993: n. pag. Online.
Internet. 2 Nov. 1996. Available Http://www.year2000.com/archive/NFcw-article.html. Microsoft. “Year 2000 Frequently Asked Questions.” Online Http://www.microsoft.com/cio/articles/year2000faq. htm . Seligman, James & Issa, Nabil.
Online. The Year 2000 Issue: Implications for Public Health Information and Surveillance Systems. Http://www.cdc.gov/y2k/year2000.htm. 9 Nov. 1996. Computers Essays.