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1997-12-31 17:55:10


Optimism for 1997 in WALL STREET JOURNAL -- 1996



This optimistic article was published in 1996. It forecasted lots of y2k repair activity for 1997. It was wrong.

The author said that there was just barely enough time, if management took action in 1996.

Management didn't. But, wonder of wonders, that 1996 deadline for getting started doesn't matter after all. The WALL STREET JOURNAL has published no doomsday articles saying that it's too late, that 1996 was the point of no return. Or 1997. No, there's still enough time. There's always enough time. There has to be. The alternative is . . . no more Wall Street. Hence, no more WALL STREET JOURNAL. Unthinkable.

* * * * *

But I predict the slackers will get off their duffs soon, because nothing motivates management like the threat of liability. Word is spreading that tort lawyers are salivating over the potential for shareholder suits. Beginning in the 1997 renewal season, providers of liability and business-interruption policies will begin seeking assurances that their customers are working to avert date failure. Auditors will soon begin investigating their clients' date exposure under new guidelines now being written by accountants.

The year 2000 is a management problem, not a technical one. Is management willing to face reality? For a long time, the answer was no. But the fix is now beginning. Just enough time is left to cure the system—assuming that everyone continues working together. This is one challenge in which the success of any business depends on how much it gives away.


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