pbn_logo.gif (6296 bytes)


Diagnostic Checks for Y2K Compliance

By Rob Kay

In an earlier column we discussed the preliminary steps that a Hawaii business can take to prepare itself for the Y2K. In this column we'll look at what the small business person can do to fix potential problems.

As a footnote, we confess that we don't know how bad the Y2K computer problem will be for our state or worldwide. Some prognosticators think that the consequences for businesses will be minimal, a mere hiccup. Others, such as Edward Yardeni of Deutsche Bank Securities, predict a 70% chance that the fallout will be a worldwide recession. The U.S. Small Business Administration figures that as many as 330,000 small businesses out of 23 million risk closing unless they fix the problem and an additional 370,000 could be temporarily or permanently crippled. Take a look at the SBA's Web site (http://www.sba.gov/y2k) or call (800) 827-5722. If you want some really provocative reading on Yardeni's scenario check out http://www.yardeni.com. Whatever the outcome, we suggest that at least your business is Y2K ready.

Fixing the Problems: If you find that mission critical software or major hardware fixes are in the offing waste no time in getting your machine upgraded or your software updated. The software side may be as simple as downloading new versions of your programs or "patches" off the Internet and installing them. In the case of new operating systems, you may have to migrate over to a new OS, say from Windows 3.1 to Windows 98. Hardware may entail a trip to the repair shop for a new "Bios" chip or a simple upgrade of the Bios software. Don't wait on this process. Begin working on it immediately.

Testing Your Box: Once everything is installed you'll need to thoroughly test your hardware and software. This may entail setting your computer's system clock to the year 2000 in order to simulate the Y2K conditions. You may have to exhaustively run your programs in this simulated environment to make sure that everything is kosher. (Some of the testing software will actually change the dates, do the simulations for you and report the test results.) We strongly suggest that you back up all your data before you do this. If you feel any hesitation, consult a qualified computer professional. Better to spend a few bucks on this and be absolutely sure that your system and programs are solid.

Put together a Contingency Plan: The next step is to devise plans that answer the "what if?" issue. What if you missed something? The key is to establish some kind of alternative to your current dependence upon your computer(s), just in case. That may mean setting up a non-electronic accounting system or whatever it takes to keep your business afloat until you get your problems licked.

Testing Software to Consider: There are a number of good programs out there. We've used "Check 2000" that has been highly praised in the computer trade publications such as Infoworld. It's a diagnostic program for the PC that analyzes your hardware and software for Y2K bugs and the like. (The program goes for about $59). For more information the product and instructions on how to purchase it, go to their web site at http://www.gmt-2000.com. You also might consider the Norton 2000 (no price yet) package from Symantec Corp.(http://www.symantec.com) or McAfee 2000 Toolbox (http://www.nai.com) for $29.95. Roadmap 2000 (http://www.roadmap2000.com) is a Y2K project management guide and software toolkit produced by a Hawaii company, PKF Technologies. It provides forms, documents, letters and templates that assist in documenting your Y2K project. Whereas most companies focus on computer issues this solution looks at Y2K as business wide problem and takes into account vendors, suppliers, customers, etc. In short everything that could conceivably be effected by a Y2K meltdown. Garrett Kojima, Director of Sales for PKF Technologies tell us that this is the best Y2K project management guide under $2000. Retails for $895. Call 521-1021 for information. For more information on Y2K software check this article from PC Magazine, "Tools For Testing Off-the- shelf Apps" which provides background information and handy tips as well as product reviews: http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/special/y2k/features/main/docs/348621.htm.

Y2K Web Sites: There are more Y2K web sites than you even want to think about. For starters, check out Ziff Davis' site at http://www.zdnet.com/zdy2k or look at Microsoft's page that can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/y2k. You should also consider looking at what your Uncle Sam has to say on the mother of all government Y2K sites from the GAO http://www.gao.gov/y2kr.htm.

Legal Issues: If the technical aspects of this problem aren't daunting enough, there are a plethora of legal issues to consider. Mitch Ratcliffe, an old friend and a journalist at PC Magazine tells us that with the rash of law suits pending over Y2K problems looming, it's best to take a more enlightened relationship with your vendors that puts the accent on cooperation rather than confrontation. His article can be found here and is highly recommended reading:

As a final note, make sure everything new you purchase is Y2K compliant. Good luck.

Pacific Business News - Friday January 8, 1999

ruler3.gif (618 bytes)
Home / About Pac-Tech / PR Services / Clients / Clips--Hawaii--National