Rounding the Bend, Heading for Home

What a headache! I don't even want to see a calendar! With 32 days left before the greatest ever test on technology and coordination, who could digest Thanksgiving dinner? We're all pretty tired of Year 2000 about now. The final questions are: When will it end? When will it get out of my life? Where are the lawyers?

In my previous column I discussed the fall COMMON conference and how Year 2000 issues came to an uncommon ending with only about one to two percent attendance at the more popular sessions. IBM stressed the need to be current on CUM and Year 2000 PTFs in order to be Y2K ready! Stay tuned, things are still changing as 2000 adds new twists as it ramps up to life. Increased use of 2000-compliant code has led to soaring rates of new fixes for that once compliant code. But, hold it as IBM has unfolded yet another twist.

Recent press clippings are touting the first quarter 2000 AS/400 hardware and software product announcements, revealing they didn't want to distract your Year 2000 efforts. I haven't gotten that one fully doped out yet, but it might be more marketing demand or technical then Y2K related. It's an unusual action for a company that has forecasted revenue declines for two quarters of 2000 to delay announcements and shipments of "hot" moneymakers.

Does IBM seriously believe this Year 2000 deal will have everyone remaining in frozen status perhaps until June?

Before going to COMMON I did a presentation entitled "Y2K: What Happens If It Doesn't Go Right?" at the Fairfield Conn. AS/400 User Group's annual Application Development Day. This talk dealt with how to position yourself to avoid problems and better handle the ones that arise to match the business survival characteristics.

Given the one to two percent statistic from COMMON sessions and this regional conference having about 200 plus attendees, I expected four people maximum. Tell them what they want to hear and, surprise, over 40! That was about 20 percent of the total. Even though there were five good topics in concurrent active tracks that was pretty darn good. No one wanted a miracle cure, there is none, and that was evident very early in the talk.

The last of the national Year 2000 conferences hit New York's financial district from October 26 to 28. Hosted by the Brainstorm Group it was held in the World Trade Center, the scene of one of the most memorable terrorist disasters of all times. Isn't that ominous? This seminar contained just two tracks. One covered year 2000 matters, the other for smart sourcing pre/post 2000.

Speaker after speaker, session after session, Y2K topics were addressed from positions of end-to-end testing, rollover strategies, aftershock, actions up to and beyond the first 100 days, crisis management, supply and demand, staff dependencies, failure management strategies, contingency and business continuity plans and executions. In a nutshell, they acknowledged that we know we're going to have some "undefined level" of problems. Given this position how should one become attuned to these areas and formulate a tested path that's set to manage and minimize the effects of these disruptions.

Giga Information Group offered some creative insights on how to leverage Y2K legacy renewal efforts. For the record, I strongly agree that there is much to be utilized from such efforts and acquired systems knowledge, which was never there to capitalize on before.

This is a unique time to use the knowledge, skills and awareness of your systems to go forward into new areas of industry leadership. I'm not suggesting you remove the system code change freezes now, but move forward with today's resource and you ride out or work through the storm of the century.