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 wsreid@wsrcg.com or through his Web site at www.wsrcg.com.