Countdown to Year 2000: 18 Things to Expect for the Rest of 1999
1. On average, the U.S. will experience a two-to-three-week disruption over the first 18 months of the Millennium to individuals, families and communities.
• That is welcomed good news and is short enough to prepare for. However, unprepared businesses can be hit hard. Some will fail.
2. Continued poor SEC disclosures report.
• Everyone is saying "I’m OK!" and "My key suppliers tell me they are OK!" But no one is guaranteeing infrastructure/utilities, so what is the real risk in SEC disclosures?
3. "Pack Mentality" vs. "Best Practices" vs. "Reasonable Efforts."
• Stay with pack for disclosures, remediation and practices, and you won’t be singled out.
• It’s too late for "Best Practices," so let’s use reasonable efforts plus contingency planning.
4. Contingency madness and Testing shortcuts.
• As time runs out, testing will be shortcut to the detriment of everyone.
• Contingency planning will be the day’s slogan with only a "normal curve" of success.
5. Y2K litigation will increase.
• As damages become a reality, Y2K-related litigation will flourish.
• Non-Y2K failures blamed on Y2K.
• Directors and officers will be targeted.
6. Government Y2K laws at the federal and state levels will increase.
• While laws will attempt to favor the defendants, there will still be room for plaintiffs to get "justice."
• Directors and offices are exposed and will be hit hard.
7. Business failures are the tip of the iceberg.
• There will be admission of foreign supply problems.
• One or two of the "Fortune 500" admit dates missed; the problem is worse than anticipated.
8. Mainstream Media goes nuts!
• Wild misinformation, causing some panic/confusion which exacerbates the problem.
• Panic hoarding/stockpiling will result.
9. Insurance scapegoating.
• "Sue and labor" clause (demanding reimbursement for remediation).
• First- and third-parties all looking to insurance for vindication.
• New Y2K exclusions will be argued.
10. Good progress in Japan, financial industries and regulated industries, but:
• Some utility outages are guaranteed.
• Utility companies with a typical three-day contingency plan are in for trouble (two to three weeks is a better plan).
11. IV&V: some "false certs."
• Everyone becomes an "IV&V" vendor.
• Many certifications will be negligent – some fraudulent.
• "Certification by Survey" is dangerous: It won’t hold up in most courts.
12. Experts, prognosticators, doomsday-ers and remediators get out of Y2K "biz."
• Much has been accomplished – there is nothing more to say to those who are still in denial.
• As predictions become favorable, doomsday position becomes less tenable.
• Some don’t want to be around when their predictions fail.
13. Stock market investors confused.
• Many will be out of the stock market by 1/1/2000.
• Foreign stocks will be hit the hardest and utility stocks are likely to become very volatile.
• Substantial gold and silver hoarding will happen with little real benefit.
14. Feds make example of last few offending U.S. banks.
• In an attempt to show that all the work is done, Feds will censure, close and sell a few non-compliant banks/financial institutions.
• U.S. banks will be fine, some foreign banks and global transactions will be questionable.
15. Increased CIO and "remediation staff" turnover.
• Many have stayed too long, statistically.
• Many want to assure positions in new technology arenas before the "great turnover" begins.
16. Business confidence in IT will be eroded.
• After the Y2K crisis, it will not be business as usual.
• New/next systems will be more closely monitored at management levels.
• Smart companies will implement Quality Assurance, IV&V and IT Steering Committees.
17. IT outsiders (experts) and outsourcers will become Board favorites.
• Boards will be held accountable and liable for IT investment.
• Boards will demand more from officers regarding IT information/control.
• The best IT professionals/retirees will have opportunities on Boards like never before.
18. Four-digit years become world standard.
• There still is no standard set for Y2K remediation … Will the industry make the same mistakes again?
About the Author: Warren S. Reid is the President of WSR Consulting Group, LLC, in Encino, Calif. He can be reached by fax at (818) 986-7955, via e-mail at email@example.com or through his Web site at www.wsrcg.com.