Most organizations rely on software produced by vendors. This is especially true in the United States. This is especially true of mid-sized banks, credit unions, and local savings & loans. So, if the vendors fail to meet the deadline, or if their software proves to be buggy, companies that think they will be compliant will not be.
You should write to every organization on which you depend for your life style. Ask if it is compliant. If you get a letter telling you that they are "very concerned" and are "actively working on the problem," you are in trouble. If you are told that the firm relies on a vendor, and the vendor will be ready for testing software on December 31, 1998, send a letter back asking for the name of the software vendor. Then write to the vendor.
SOFTWARE MAGAZINE (Oct. 1997) devoted an issue to y2k. Included was this warning to businessmen:
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Trust vendors? Place the success or failure of your business in the hands of a third party? Scary times, indeed.
Still, asking vendors about their Year 2000 compliance is a good starting point and certainly the most direct approach for jumping into the Y2K morass. Customers might not always get a straightforward answer, but that in itself indicates that further investigation is needed. . . .
However, says Mark Stabler, senior VP of Computer Associates, if people are going to start worrying about being held liable for Year 2000 compliance issues, there could be a shortage of software vendors willing to help out in Year 2000 remediation. Even the big outsourcing firms, he says, are requiring clients to sign off at every stage of remediation. The sign-off represents an acknowledgment by the client that the fixed code is as compliant as possible, and all warranties and defects are now on the client.
"The vendors have a great out," says N.J.-based Attorney Bruce Brickman. "They can lay the blame on the customer's management for not acting in a timely manner."