Everything Y2K

Year 2000 News and Products

Euro Conversion's Lessons for Y2K Transition

Despite significant differences between the two events, Year 2000 conversion managerscould do well to study why the euro conversion went so smoothly, according to GigaInformation Group analysts Martha Bennett and Stephanie Moore.

Many of the key factors contributing to the euro's successful technology transition areequally applicable to Year 2000 projects. Coming as no surprise, Bennett and Moore citedetailed planning, repeated testing and senior management support and involvement ascritical success factors. However, communication and cooperation emerged as two additionalfactors.

"The amount of collaboration and cooperation that occurred between companies thatare bitter rivals could be regarded as only just short of miraculous," claimsBennett, a U.K.-based research analyst. "The prime reason, of course, is that thesewholesale financial organizations depend on sending and receiving financial data from eachother. If any link in the chain had broken, it could have led to serious marketdisruption. Any glitches that did happen were not due to technology, but to the failure ofsome institutions to follow agreed-upon conventions."

With the Year 2000 conversion in full swing, most organizations are well into thetesting phase. In light of the positive euro conversion weekend experience, ITorganizations in the throes of Year 2000 projects should review their human resource plansand plans for senior management support. Most important, executives should be on site toensure that revised plans can be implemented immediately.

For more information visit Giga Informa-tion Group, Inc. at www.gigaweb.com.

Utilities Say Y2K Has Minimal Impact

Electric power companies are resolving potential Year 2000 problems, an industry reportconcludes. The review by the North American Electric Reliability Council, says therelikely will be "only minimal impact" of the "nuisance" variety onelectricity production and distribution.

"We don't feel there's going to be a problem keeping the lights on," saysGerry Cauley, the council's program manager for the Y2K review. But when asked whether hecould guarantee a trouble-free transition into 2000 for power companies, Cauley hedged,"No one will stand up here and give you a guarantee," he said. "There'sjust enough uncertainty."

Dateline: 1999 ­ The Need Is Speed

Companies are beginning to understand the importance of auditing their Y2K work, firstto ensure business operability, and second, to provide verifiable due diligence in theface of potential litigation. Yet, with less than 260 days left until the turn of themillennium, the accuracy and speed of the audit process have become critical factors.

There are three approaches to auditing Y2K remediated code: a tool-assisted solutionused in-house, a tool-based factory and a highly automated factory. Both tool-basedmethodologies, whether used in-house or at an off-site factory facility, still relyheavily on human intervention to analyze the code. This presents several major dilemmas.The intensity of reviewing code manually is mentally taxing which gives rise to humanerrors and inconsistencies. Another limitation of tool-assisted approaches is the amountof code engineers can review. In some better scenarios, the volume of code analyzed by oneperson has only been around 150,000 to 200,000 lines of code per month.

"What takes Y2K engineers months to analyze will take a highly automated factoryonly days to do," maintains Jim Henry VP of Operations at MatriDigm Corp., a Y2Ksolutions provider for COBOL. "Conservatively speaking, the turnaround time fortesting programs in a highly automated factory is 15-20 times faster than the manual,tool-assisted methodology." For more information contact Jill Goldberg of MatriDigmat (888) YRS-2001, or visit their Web site at www.matridigmusa.com.

Is Your Data Ready to Migrate?

Preparations for Y2K have delayed a significant number of data migration projects untilafter January 1, 2000; but automated data management tools available to combat theMillennium bug can actually put data migration programs back on track.

Even before the arrival of the 21st century, however, Y2K has already affected manybottom lines and slowed the march of progress, by diverting millions of IT dollars awayfrom high priority system modernization and data migration projects.

The end result, according to Frank Cullen, co-founder of IT consulting firm Blackstone& Cullen, many data and client/server migration projects have been pushed to the backburner. "Many firms have also delayed ERP implementations and data warehousingprojects that are dependent on their migration efforts," he explains, "becausetheir budget and staff are so heavily invested in Y2K compliance programs right now."

On the surface, each of the issues appears to be vastly different. Y2K is all aboutfixing date fields, while data migration­also known as data transformation­deals withmoving data from older systems and non-relational formats to newer systems capable ofleveraging relational database forms like Structured Query Language (SQL) with the latestWeb-based applications.

Addressing this apparent divergence, Cullen offers this perspective: "Whetheryou're talking about Y2K compliance or migrating huge non-relational data sets into SQLtables, by recognizing that each issue is primarily about fixing data ­ not programs
or systems ­ you take a major step toward solving them."

For more information contact Blackstone and Cullen at (770) 612-1550 or visit their Website at www.bac-atl.com.

AccommoDATE-ing the Year 2000

AccommoDATE from Formula Consultants Inc. lets you set a simulated date for programtesting without having to reboot and without affecting production runs.

Programmers and testers use the AccommoDATE Administrator utility to create a table ofrun ids and/or TIP transaction names, and simulated dates or offsets. The date can beentered either as an absolute date or a relative date, but is saved as a relative date.Any date, past or future, can be specified in the table which is saved in a separatesystem file.

AccommoDATE is not just a Year 2000 testing tool; it can also test programs with datesother than the current date, such as quarterly or year-end programs. AccommoDATE can alsobe used to allow programs to run with a simulated date from the past. This means if acritical bug is discovered on January 1, 2000, in a program that was thought to beY2K-compliant, the program could be run with a simulated date of December 31, 1999, untila modification is made to eliminate the error.

For more information contact FCI at (714) 778-0123 or visit www.formula.com.