Editorial: Party Like It’s … Hell, You Know the Rest

Editorial: Party Like It’s … Hell, You Know the Rest

Finally. It’s here. Thank goodness! I don’t think I could take one more C-rated actor growing a forehead in some car or satellite TV commercial, smugly mocking the Y2K crisis.

That’s right, call it what you will, "Crisis," "Hype" or just a damn good excuse to get blotto, the New Year, Decade, Century and Millennium (unless you’re into that no year zero theory) will be upon us. (And if you’re not sure your systems are compliant by now, well, you might as well get an early start on that getting blotto.)

Of course, you could always adopt the attitude of Indonesia’s national electricity board. When they were asked about their Y2K preparedness, they reportedly replied that they can observe what happens at midnight in Western Samoa, New Zealand and Australia, and still have six hours to make plans. Yeah, I know, "make plans" equals "get blotto."

That Bug thing aside, the coming of a new century causes one to pause and reflect, as well as wonder about the future – no matter what industry you are in, whether or not you use a computer to get your job done.

And that’s how ESJ is wrapping up its 14th year – not with a Y2K horror story or warning, but with a personal look back and a gaze ahead. In our "Visions for a New Millennium" special section beginning on page 33, we’ve asked several of today’s most influential industry executives and cutting-edge users to help us ponder the future and remember the past.

It’s funny that, despite our asking about disappointing technologies and crucial events, not one of those interviewed ever mentioned the Year 2000 crisis itself. Maybe I’m not the only one tired of it?

Included in our list is Dave Carlucci, GM of IBM S/390. Dave helped coin the phrase, "The mainframe ain’t dead yet." John C. Carrow, CIO of Unisys, advises that the CIO or IT manager of the 21st century better include a strong sense of humor in his or her portfolio. And Yogesh Gupta, Senior VP at Computer Associates suggests that there are many opportunities for technology to improve the human condition that have yet to be met. We need more thinking like Mr. Gupta’s.

Other candid observations about the PC, e-commerce and the World Wide Web come from Aubrey Chernick, Chairman and CEO of Candle; Jim Rothnie, Senior VP at EMC; Selby Wellman, Senior VP at Cisco; Les Wilson, Worldwide Mission Critical Solutions Manager at HP; Stephen Weyl, President of the Advanced Development Center at Ricoh; and Doug Walker, CEO at WRQ, who reminds us that although the Internet is a head above most of today’s technologies, it stands on the shoulders of many other events.

In addition to the industry movers, we’ve asked some real shakers – past writers – for their views of the changing Millennium. This prominent list includes Robin Barrett, Senior VP of Technologies for American Express, who maintains that IT managers owe it to their "loyal employees" with legacy skill sets to help them move forward. Ed Ohanian, Director of Enterprise Technology at Wendy’s, asks when will there truly be a cross-platform, cross-discipline, general purpose OS? Joe Horlander of Seagram Americas, reminds us that IT management is an art and not a science; and Dr. Bernie Domanski, Professor at CUNY, says IS managers will "go nuts" trying to nail down the response time for e-commerce.

Tom Ross, VP of IT at American Honda Motor, wonders how you will structure and supply technology when a competitor can emerge at anytime, from anywhere, without any warning. And Jon Steele, VP of Networking for Union Planter’s Bank, sums up tomorrow’s IT manager, saying that he or she will be an accountant, a skilled juggler and a futurist, in addition to being a technologist.

As for me, I’ll be the first to flip that calendar in this new Millennium, and finally bid adeiu to this whole Y2K thing … that’s assuming the lights are still working in my house.