IBM Gets More Help to Track Y2K Readiness

In an effort to keep track of Year 2000 readiness on a variety of platforms, IBM Global Services recently contracted with Infoliant Corp. (Pittsburgh, Pa.) for rights to its database of vendor Year 2000 compliance. Earlier in 1998, IBM Global Services had also signed an agreement with ClickNet Software (San Jose, Calif.), which provides network asset management tools and a vendor compliance database for PC networks.

Infoliant’s Year 2000 Network Advisor is a Web-based look-up tool (www.network-advisor.com) that includes information on a range of AS/400 vendors, including an electronic notification service.

Network Advisor currently has information on 20,000 products from more than 400 manufacturers. IBM and other organizations are using a proprietary version of the service – called Millennium Direct – that can be customized and installed on its own internal networks.

With Millennium Direct, IBM gets a refresh of updated information on a daily basis from Infoliant, explains Kevin Weaver, Infoliant co-founder and executive VP. Essentially, IBM’s database provides "the same information, user interface, and functionality as the public Web site," he says. The difference, along with pricing, is that Millennium Direct enables organizations to configure the database with proprietary research and product information.

A competitive source of information is free Web sites such as EDS’ Vendor 2000 (www.vendor2000.com), sponsored by Electronic Data Systems (Houston). Vendor 2000 is a database of vendor compliance information, including a number of AS/400 vendors.

E-mail notification is also available for a fee.

In contrast to free Web sites, subscription-based services such as Network Advisor are guaranteed to be "always current and up-to-date," Weaver argues. Comprehensive Year 2000 sites require large commitments of resources that a free site may not be able to support, he points out. Weaver estimates that Infoliant adds about 1,000 new or updated records each week.

He points out that Network Advisor provides a standardized format of vendor compliance information, while free sites depend on links to vendors’ Web sites. Other features included in Network Advisor include licensing information, reporting abilities and data quality.

Users will find an overview of the manufacturer’s Y2K readiness efforts, readiness status of specific products, and a recommended corrective action plan for each product. An additional feature, Compliance Tracker, will update users on changes to manufacturers’ readiness information. The interactive database also features the Personal Product Portfolio, which allows users to "tag" products, thus creating personalized portfolios of products and their readiness status.