November 1998 Gartner/Milne Report: "Point/Counterpoint" : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

ITAA's Year 2000 Outlook
November 6, 1998
Volume 3, No. 41

Published by the Information Technology Association of America, Arlington, VA

ITAA's Year 2000 Outlook is published every Friday to help all organizations deal more effectively with the Year 2000 software conversion. To create a subscription to this free publication, please visit ITAA on the web at To cancel an existing subscription, visit

Gartner Report: Y2K Too Shall Pass
The GartnerGroup is gunning for Mad Max. Or at least the world-gone-mad mentality this movie brings to mind. Clearly distressed by Y2K "gloom and doom" sayers and the extreme measures some advocate in response, the company is now trying to pour oil on troubled millennial waters. Or as one of its leading consultants says, "pour oil on the hysteria."

And perhaps rid the world of a little snakeoil in the process?

The GartnerGroup is known more for its consulting work with private clients than missionary work with average citizens. But the company recently released a public report intended to help just plain folks cope with the stress of a digitally dysfunctional world.

The report is certainly designed to help cooler heads prevail. While survivalists may urge mountain retreats or mounds of freeze dried edibles, the Gartner Group seemingly predicts that the Year 2000 rollover will be a few days spent with relatively minor techno troubles. Troubles more of "gol dang it" than Gotterdammerung variety. And certainly not modern society's one-way ticket ride to Cyberia.

At least that's certainly the way one of the report's authors sees it. "We don't need a run on the banks due to hysteria and panic," says GartnerGroup Vice President and Director of Research Jim Cassell. The analyst says his firm is working with the American Banking Association to head off such a possibility. He says the ABA is very concerned about people needlessly withdrawing large sums in the run up to the rollover. The collective cashing of one month's paycheck, Cassell says, would empty the national till. "There is not enough physical money," he says.

"Withdrawing funds from banks or liquidating investments is not warrantedVGartnerGroup assumes most enterprises will address mission-critical systems so that 90 percent of the systems that do fail will be corrected within three days," the new report notes. Seventy percent will be back in two days, it predicts.

Cassell compares the situation to a hurricane. Pay attention, be prepared, but do not be blown away by fear and doubt. A stampede to the boonies isn't on Gartner's to-do list either. Citing the "incredible hysteria" he hears, Cassell encourages people to look at the situation in perspective and separate panic from practicality. Cassell says he lives in Florida, where the "worst day is 60 degrees. I'm not worried about buying a space heater," he says.

So what is a person to do to prepare for a few days of technologically stormy weather? Cassell suggests that like his Florida example, physical location will go a long way to determining what steps are necessary. Some moves, however, seem universal. Cassell says having the equivalent of two-weeks salary on hand is not a bad idea. And a five-day contingency supply of medications, fuel and food are good too.

"Individuals should prepare for limited duration, localized failures of services and infrastructure rather than an apocalypse," the report states, but warns, "The type and number of failures will vary geographically and cannot really be predicted."

On the GartnerGroup's Personal Year 2000 Risk Assessment checklist are insurance policy reviews, prescription refills, physical and dental checkups, first-aid supplies, cellular phone backups, topped off gasoline and home heating oil tanks, early driver's license renewals, and stocked water. "The most critical factors for most people are clearly the availability of telephone service and electric power," the report notes, citing the vulnerability of automated teller machines, emergency services, credit cards, electronic funds transfer and the like.

Gartner's optimistic view is not necessarily global. "In many cases there is no effective way for a non-U.S. person to meaningfully assess the risk posed by such things as infrastructure and financial services," the report observes. "Few countries have as rigorous reporting requirements as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and individuals have no leverage on enterprises such as insurance and utility companies. Such enterprises generally do not provide specific responses to individuals." Listen to whatever public pronouncements are available, then take a conservative position, the report suggests.

Back in the U.S., Cassell says institutions like the SEC and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will help people weather the storm. But it won't be the kind of storm that floods cities or blows down buildings. "You may not get [some] products or services for five days. It will be inconvenient, disruptive, but it's not the end of the world," he notes.

At least not for individuals. Companies, according to Cassell, could be a different story. Some of these, he says, will be "devastated" by lawsuits and other problems. Of course the economic consequences of such impacts could mean more than a blinking VCR to many American households. But even a lost job or depressed stock price isn't the end of times.

So put away the sackcloth and hair shirts for now. Instead, prepare for the purely practical. Like checking that investment companies are providing adequate status information. That insurance policies cover date related physical damage. That health concerns are tended to ahead of time. And that neighbors are covered too.

"People should not ask 'How can I survive the century boundary?' They should ask 'How can my neighborhood and I survive the century boundary?' People should volunteer to help the elderly or sick, and should also volunteer their services to their local, city or town governments," the report advises.

The free report is available at

For the sake of "balance," Paul Milne (one of the more ardent believers in y2k Big Trouble), had the following reaction to the Gartner Group:

Brought To You By The Gartner Morons
Author: fedinfo
Date: 1998/11/02

95 percent fixed scenario:
In the 95 percent scenario, power failures, water supplies, transportation disruptions and shipments of goods would last about three days. Roughly 333,000 people could be laid off, at least temporarily. The cost to repair and replace systems and deal with lawsuits would be about $90.4 billion in the United States.

The aftermath of a scenario in which 5 percent of the defects remain may seem disruptive enough. But Jones expects the most likely outcome will be that 15 percent of the Y2K bugs will continue to lurk inside the nation's electronic systems.

Here are some of the problems that Jones believes could be unleashed with an 85 percent fix:

About 2.2 million people could lose their jobs, as computer breakdowns disrupt the ability to buy or deliver goods or services. The unemployment rate could rise 2.2 percentage points. Some 2,500 businesses and 275,000 individuals could declare bankruptcy. About 15 percent of the nation's homes could be out of power for five days and without phone service for three. Air, road, sea and rail transportation could be interrupted for days or even weeks. Stocks would lose 10 percent of their value in early 2000. The cost of repairing and replacing software and systems and coping with expected lawsuits could total $497 billion. "Under the expected-case scenario, the U.S. economy would be in some distress for at least a six-month period," Jones wrote in his study. "The year 2000 problems would begin to have a domino effect that would probably trigger a mild recession." The downturn effects, if widespread enough, could last for a few years, he said.

Look at this ASSININE assessment of the problems that may be caused.

More than 50% the population is employed by small business, who are doing NOTHING, but Gartner says that only 2.2 percent might lose their jobs. ROTFLMAO. Not to mention the myriad of large businesses that will fail. This is laughbale on it's face. but wait! There's more stupidity by Gartner to come!

[It is worth while considering what a small business is. As defined by the SBA a small business is one which has up to 50 employees and $50Million income per year. The head of the San Francisco SBA told me that they don't even track the business which have under $5Million. -- comment inserted by Mitch Barnes]

"Some 2,500 businesses and 275,000 individuals could declare bankruptcy."

There are over 3.5 million SMALL business ALONE. Not to mention all the large and medium sized ones. But Gartner says that a number equal to LESS than 3/4 of ONE PERCENT of ONLT SMALL BUSINESSES may decalre bankruptcy. ROTFLMAO. Right now in South Korea more than 3000 business a month are going bankrupt. Japan is undergoing an all time high rate of bankruptcies. But gartner says that Y2K will produce this miniscule ANNUAL number of only 2500. ROTFLMAO.

[This year the personal bankruptcies handled just by the Court in Sacramento will be about 30,000. It wouldn't be too wild to guess that the nationwide personal bankruptcies are already above the Gartner projection. - Mitch Barnes]

"Stocks would lose 10 percent of their value in early 2000."

Without Y2K *AT ALL* we just experienced a dip form 9300 to 7400. More than a twenty percent decline. When Y2K kicks in 20% will look like a Godsend.

"About 15 percent of the nation's homes could be out of power for five days and without phone service for three."

I would be very interested in the exact terms that they used to calculate these numbers. They are very precise. Laughably so.

"The year 2000 problems would begin to have a domino effect that would probably trigger a mild recession."

A "mild" recession? I am physically falling off my chair and rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.

All of you morons out there who fall for this laughable bullcrap deserve every measure of torment that you will accrue by not preparing before it is too late.

Paul Milne

"The road to TEOTWAWKI is paved with good expectations"

-- Bill (, November 08, 1998

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