Candle Lights the Way for Southern Cal's Y2K Efforts

Pundits, comedians and survivalists alike are quipping that we will need candles to get around after midnight on January 1st. However, Candle Corp. (Santa Monica, Calif.), is taking steps to help local communities keep their electric lights blazing into the new millennium.

Candle--which provides tools for monitoring multiple AS/400s and mainframes--has taken the lead in developing a comprehensive community preparedness effort to increase Y2K readiness. The program fosters coordinated local approaches for Y2K readiness and is now available free of charge to local governments, private industries, non-profit agencies and community leaders.

The Millennium Management Blueprint, developed by Candle in partnership with the City and County of Los Angeles and dozens of other local governments, is currently in use by a number of U.S. cities and counties nationwide. The blueprint speaks to the unique nature of Y2K, providing a management plan to help local government, business, community organizations and residents, plan and prepare for the potential impacts of the millennium transition.

Aubrey Chernick, chairman and founder of Candle, first proposed such a community-wide approach more than a year ago. Developing a systems management approach is a natural for Candle, which now has four full-time employees dedicated to the effort, says Deborah Kelfer, program director the Millennium at Candle. "We know how to plan, search for problems, put contingency plans in place, and monitor systems. As we all know from working with midrange systems, it's important that we understand the dependencies among the various parts."

The result of Candle's work--along with workshops involving Y2K experts and local government officials--is a "blueprint" that blends the best practices of emergency planning with the solution-oriented techniques of an IT company.

The largest coordinated effort to date utilizing the Millennium Management Blueprint is the Los Angeles Millennium Management Leadership Team, a partnership between the City and County of Los Angeles, private industry, non-profit agencies and community groups to prepare the widespread metropolis for the Y2K transition.

The Millennium Management Blueprint is not a plan for technical compliance or preventing Y2K computer glitches, but a detailed management tool to help local governments plan for local problems, prioritize tasks and find ways to ensure the continuation of basic services. "Even if all the internal systems in a given local government are fixed, there are exposures related to the external dependencies," says Chernick. "The blueprint helps local governments map out those areas of potential vulnerability."