Many Vendors Scrambling for Y2K Compliance

The rate of Y2K-related upgrades and patches being made to off-the-shelf software packages and systems has reached a fever pitch. In its latest industry tracking statistics, Infoliant Corp. (Pittsburgh, Pa.) reports that changes were reported for more than 900 IT products or associated corrective action plans in the month of June alone. About 367 of these changes were in the actual Y2K status of products during this time, almost half of which were downgrades.

This brings the total number of documented Y2K compliance status changes among 36,000 software packages to 2,300 since the beginning of the year. Infoliant notes that only 1,000 such changes were reported in the years 1997 and 1998.

On the average, about a third of these changes were downgrades in status -- meaning there was a disclosure of a previously unknown Y2K issue, or the manufacturer decided to cease Y2K support for that product, says Kevin Weaver, executive VP and co-founder of Infoliant. However, in the most recent month, 44 percent of the status changes were Y2K downgrades.

The overall increase in status changes is attributable to software and systems manufacturers boosting their testing and evaluation efforts as Year 2000 approaches, Weaver continues. These reports come from such leading manufacturers as Data General, Microsoft, Computer Associates, IBM, Intuit and Unisys.

Weiss Ratings Inc., a Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based provider of Y2K readiness ratings, reports that many of the nation's largest telecommunications companies appear to be falling behind schedule in preparing their computers for the Y2K computer bug.

Below are the five largest telecommunications companies by revenue and their Weiss Y2K ratings:

  • AT&T Corp.Average
  • Bell Atlantic Corp.Below Average
  • BellSouth Corp.Low
  • GTE Corp.Average
  • SBC Communications Inc.Below Average
Vendors announced they will not even test--therefore discontinue support--for almost one out of five of the products changing compliance status in June. Infoliant reports that about six percent of the products it tracks--numbering almost 2,000--are still "pending evaluation," and thus have not been tested.

On a more upbeat note, during the month of June, vendors also announced corrective action plans for another 50 products. Approximately 20 percent of the status changes in June were the result of manufacturers releasing Y2K compliance assurances on previously untested or unreported products. Infoliant tracks over 36,000 enterprise, midrange, network and desktop products from over 600 major manufacturers.