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1998-01-06 21:23:29


One Medium-Size Success; Many Barely Started Projects



A medium-size insurance company with 3.5 million lines of code says that it is almost 2000-compliant. It began its repair project in 1995. Meanwhile, most large companies have barely begun.

This story was in DATAMATION (Dec).

* * * * * * *

Paul Petry, left, and Vincent Lioce of Boston Mutual are ready to face the new millennium head-on. . . .

Lioce, vice president of information systems and services at Canton, Mass.-based Boston Mutual Life Insurance, is at the helm of a major Y2K conversion project that is slated to wrap up,"with some minor exceptions," by the end of 1997.

. . . But as of the third quarter of 1997, only 57% of large U.S. companies had completed their Y2K assessments, secured the requisite funding, and begun some code conversion, according to data from the META Group, the Stamford, Conn., consulting firm. A whopping 41% had not finished with their Year 2000 plans or were waiting to finalize funding.

"An awful lot of folks are still in denial," says Matt Hotle, research director at the Gartner Group, also in Stamford. In fact, only 2% of large U.S. companies are in the enviable position of being done with the effort, according to META numbers. Most, like Boston Mutual, are in the financial services industry. . . .

And his mind has never been far from the sleeping problem waiting to explode in his systems on 1/1/00, if not sooner. "We have known about this for a long, long, long time," says Lioce, a trim, silver-haired man with a no-nonsense air. It is precisely his long-term involvement and intimate understanding of the company's systems that gave Boston Mutual the edge in dealing with the century change. Another important factor was that Lioce was quickly able to enlist meaningful support and financial commitment from Paul Petry, the company's president and chief operating officer. . . .

The project is proceeding, with about 75% of the fixed code tested and back in production. As companies are discovering, the bulk of the effort is in testing. But this did not come as a surprise to Lioce, who had dedicated several people full time to acceptance and millennium testing. . . .

Lioce is aware that he is the envy of all who have not had the foresight to deal with Y2K by now. But will he have to reopen the project in 1998 or beyond? "Companies may think they are done, but they may find out later they're not. There are so many variables," says Mike Egan, program director for enterprise datacenter strategies at the META Group.

While Boston Mutual rates an A-, most companies still rate a disappointing Daverage in their current Y2K conversion progress.

Though many companies have improved slightly in their progress toward Year 2000, they still have a long way to go, says Mike Egan, program director for enterprise datacenter strategies for META Group, the Stamford, Conn., consulting firm.

Egan tracks company Y2K performance. He found that where companies had a D average based on five assessment categories in the second quarter 1997, they merited only a tiny increase to a Daverage in the third quarter. This isn't exactly a major leap forward. And 70% of the companies still are behind schedule, he says. . . .


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