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1997-12-11 17:41:57


"Compliant" Oil Company Is Still at Risk



The example of an oil company that relies on noncompliant chips is to the point. Even if a company has made the switch to a compliant system, such as SAP, it is not out of the woods.

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Brian Wengenroth, a VP in the IT division of New York consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton, illustrates this point. He says many top executives he knows mistakenly believe that because their companies have recently implemented new systems, their troubles are over. He cites the example of the top management of a large oil company that recently implemented SAP and thus "assumed they didn't have a problem."

But while the company was testing some of the equipment that controls oil valves in its refineries, engineers inadvertently discovered a host of new problems. "Thousands of terminals that control the [dispensation] of oil have old chips with a year 2000 problem. The chips all need replacing, but the new chips won't fit on the old motherboards," Wengenroth notes. "And the new motherboards don't fit the old valves, so all the valves have to be replaced, too." If the company doesn't address all these problems, it soon won't be able to deliver oil to its customers.


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