A Day in the (Millennium) Life

FRAMINGHAM (01/01/2000) - IT managers answer questions on the date rollover:

--James F. Mischke; Director of IT, Davidson CompaniesLaurel, Maryland Question: "Did you have any Y2K-related problems?"

Response: "A date display function displayed the date incorrectly on a daily report on sales, Instead of displaying yesterday's date as Dec. 31, 1999, it displayed it as Dec. 31, 2099. The person who programmed it used a code that had not been tested because no one knew it was going to be used. But it was fixed and it works fine now."

Question: In light of your lack of problems, have you declared victory yet?

Answer: "Yes. I came in here at 5 a.m., other people came in around 9 and it's now 11:30 a.m. and we're in the process of testing the last half of our system."

--Peter Guyton

Director of IS

Fuji Medical Systems

Stamford, Conn.

Question: In light of the fact that you haven't experienced any Y2K-related problems, are you declaring victory?

User response: "We're declaring victory, although I don't think there was even a fight. However, I think we may be jumping the gun by saying everything is fine with every company. There may be some smaller companies that will have glitches no one will ever hear about, especially if they're using [older programs] like Windows 3.1."

Question: Was there too much hype surrounding Y2K?

Answer: "The whole thing was definitely overblown. It was a nonevent.'' --Earl W. WeinmanIS Operations ManagerXpedixCity of Industry, Calif.

Question: Any Y2K-related problems?

Answer: "Nothing at all so far. The water is coming out of the faucets, the lights are on and we're declaring victory."

Question: How good was your Y2K testing?

Answer: "It was a great experience and worthwhile. We did a couple of things to see if there were any problems with our applications. We found a few things we needed to fix. We protected ourselves. We set up procedures to get around most of the things we thought might fail. We assumed certain problems and asked ourselves what we would do to handle them. Now, we'll be better prepared on Monday."

--Al Geiger

IT manager

Fluor Corp.

Alison Viejo, Calif.

Question: Are you ready to declare victory?

Answer: "We don't expect any problems because we've done all the testing. But we're a global operation, and Monday is the first day of normal business. I'd say we've won a series of battles, but we haven't won the war yet.'' Question: How many IT staffers are working this weekend?

Answer: "We started Friday at 5 a.m. [in our Y2K command center] and we'll continue until Monday at 1 p.m. We have a staff of five people rotating around the clock here, and there are 300 people involved total around the world."

--Dennis Reedy

Vice president of information systems

Home Federal Bank of Tennessee

Knoxville, Tenn.

Question: Are you ready to declare victory?

Answer: "This was probably the most publicized nonevent in history. But we still have to open up Monday morning, and I think there will be a lot of curious customers. We'll have a lot of traffic [in our branches] that day. But having gone through [post-Y2K testing] today, we're very confident about the systems.'' Question: Was anything about the date changeover surprising?

Answer: "We prepared for the potential of large withdrawals [by customers], but that didn't materialize at all. We have a lot of money on our hands now, and it cost us a great deal to keep all that in liquid form. At least for this year, that was the major cost of our expenditures for Y2K."

Question: Are there any big projects you've kept on the back burner?

Answer: "We didn't apply any patches or major changes to the system in December, and check imaging is one thing we've kind of been holding off because it involves a big system change. We didn't want to be in midstream on that at Y2K time."

--Ben Vettese

Director of SAP applications

Elf Atochem North America Inc.

Philadelphia

Question: Are you ready to declare victory?

Answer: The first indications are that this does look like a victory.

Everything's running, and I think that if there are any issues, they're going to be very minor and very correctable.

Question: Was the whole Y2K problem overhyped?

Answer: "Not at all. I think there were enough unknowns for people to really do their homework and spend the money to [fix] it. Just the threat of potential problems was enough to give you the initiative."

--Leo Ducharme

IT manager

Klockner Namasco Corp.

Atlanta

Question: Did you have many IT workers on hand to monitor the systems?

Answer: "No one was here overnight. I wasn't going to bring everybody in because I was 99.9999% sure that nothing was going to happen. I'm just in because they wanted to have somebody sit here for a while. I came in at 8:30 this morning, and I plan to go golfing in half an hour."

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