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1997-06-27 00:00:00


California's White Paper Describes a Gigantic Challenge



California's y2k problems are probably greater than most national governments' y2k problems. This official White Paper (Oct. 8, 1996) gives an overview of just how huge the problem is.

This is a long document: 17 pages, plus a one-page cover sheet.

A significant section appears on page 10. It is a chart that breaks down the overall repair task into sections, with a percentage of costs devoted to each phase. Awareness is 1%. Yet most firms are not even into the awareness phase. Inventory: 1%; Assessment: 5%. The come these phases: Solution Design & Planning: 15%; Development and Modification: 20%. Then comes testing: 40%. (This is a low estimate. Most estimates place testing at 50% to 70% of the total project.)

Of those organizations that have even begun to fix the problem, most are not beyond the assessment phase. In short, the bills have not yet hit. Either they will hit or else there will be no repairs.

The world's securities markets are not ready for these bills. The stock markets show no signs (June, 1997) of the budgeting effects of these bills on earnings or dividends. My conclusion: hardly anyone really intends to pay them. The problem will be deferred. And deferred again.

Note also the time estimates. The Paper assumes that the organization has begun its repair project by late 1996. The total time allotted to fix California: 29 to 39 months.

Social Security began its repair in 1991. It is still noncompliant.

The now-familiar Public Relations hand-out and form letter says that the organization will be ready to test on December 31, 1998. This happy-face date ignores the obvious: the tests will almost certainly crash the system at least once. Then what? Back to the drawing board!

There is no time. It is time to face this reality. The Bug will bite.


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