IBM to PinPoint Y2K Compliance on PC Networks

Auditing and managing year 2000 issues on far-flung PC networks is a bear for most IS staffs. For a large service organization such as IBM Global Services -- which manages systems for the world's largest companies -- the task is beyond comprehension. "Each of these organizations faces the challenge of systematically assessing tens of thousands of ever-changing PCs for year 2000 readiness," says Michael Curtis, consultant for IBM Global Services.

To get its arms around the challenge, IBM Global Services has begun deploying a networked PC compliance tool, ClickNet Y2K from PinPoint Software (San Jose, Calif., IBM Global Services selected PinPoint's ClickNet Y2K on the basis of its multifaceted capabilities for automating PC inventory, asset management and year 2000 readiness reporting, says Curtis.

This agreement with a PC-based year 2000 vendor represents a significant widening of IBM's year 2000 efforts, says William Ulrich, president of analyst and Y2K consulting firm Tactical Strategy Group Inc. (Soquel, Calif.). "IBM has never been good at developing software for the PC market," he says. "It's great that Global Services is moving into the distributed systems area, because IBM was mainframe-centric up until a couple of years ago. It was reluctant to help people with distributed systems problems."

Fluor Daniel Corp., the principal subsidiary of Fluor Corp., is an engineering, construction, maintenance and diversified services company based in Houston. The company has implemented the latest version of ClickNet Y2K to track the year 2000 compliance of more than 900 PCs and PC servers, says Max Dufour, project information manager supervisor at Fluor Daniel. "ClickNet Y2K has been very helpful in our pursuit of Y2K compliancy coordination," he says. With 500 new workstations to be added over the next few months, Dufour's department has not had to add staff to keep track of every application added to the network.

While mainframes can be made year 2000-ready from one central point, distributed PC systems present a complex challenge to year 2000 efforts. "IT professionals are looking for something that will keep them current on the progress of different departments and offices without getting lost in details," Ulrich says.

The latest version of ClickNet Y2K incorporates asset tracking and management capabilities from a sister product, ClickNet Professional. Companies initiating year 2000 efforts can carry these efforts into ongoing asset management, says John Kiger, vice president of PinPoint Software.

Corporate managers who are clueless about the extent of PC network proliferation may finally have a tool to measure that proliferation, Tactical Strategy Group’s Ulrich says: "The poor CFO has given money out to 16 different divisions, broken into 25 business units, with PCs, networks and everything else under the sun, and nobody has a clue where all these things are on an aggregate level." ClickNet, which automatically discovers and generates reports on the year 2000 readiness of the BIOS and applications of network-attached PCs, will support "thousands of nodes," if need be, says PinPoint’s Kiger. The solution now includes a database of 9,000 commercial software titles, which can be refreshed via an automated Internet download. The Y2K knowledge base will be updated continuously through June 30, 2000.

ClickNet can be configured to operate on all types of networks, from intranets to sneakernets, Kiger says: "We realize that many companies have PCs that are either not connected to a network, or connected in other ways." For example, IBM's networks are built on Lotus Notes, which is covered by software agents that can be automatically downloaded to each machine, Kiger explains. Remote e-mail sites are also covered, he adds.