Gartner: Y2k failures to last 2 1/2 years beginning July 1999 : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread


Steve Alexander / Star Tribune-Minneapolis

The script for Y2K is all wrong. Instead of Y2K failures occurring at midnight on Dec. 31, they will be spread over a 30-month period that will begin in July. So says the Gartner Group, a leading computer industry consulting firm based in Connecticut.

This is revisionist stuff, since practically all Y2K scenarios to date have focused on the potential for serious computer failures at midnight on Dec. 31. But Gartner maintains that only 10 percent of Y2K failures will occur within two weeks of Jan. 1.

In an interview, Dale Vecchio, a research director in Gartner Group's Y2K practice in Stamford, Conn., said his firm has been eyeing a multi-month Y2K impact since the middle of last year. But Gartner analysts have been frustrated that the public debate about Y2K has continued to focus on the Jan. 1 millennium date change, he said.

"People haven't quite gotten it," Vecchio said. "They have been too focused on the single time boundary and not enough on what they may have to deal with before the time boundary occurs."

Why should Y2K start in 1999 and stretch into 2001? In a recent speech in San Diego, Lou Marcoccio, another research director of Gartner's Y2K practice, said the causes will be forecasting software that looks six months into the future, the beginning of new fiscal years for many corporations and some "date-related anomalies in software code." The number of Y2K failures will increase further in October as forecasting software that looks three months ahead runs up against the Jan. 1, 2000, date and still more companies begin new fiscal years, Marcoccio said.

In Gartner's view, 25 percent of Y2K computer failures will occur in 1999, 55 percent will occur in 2000 and 15 percent will occur in 2001. The other 5 percent occurred before 1999. While computer system failures will be spread throughout the 30-month period, the failures of devices containing embedded computer chips -- such as factory process control units or building temperature control systems -- will peak at midnight on Dec. 31, Gartner said.

The research firm also predicted that 10 percent of all failures will last three days or longer. While Gartner's extended Y2K impact scenario is at odds with most discussions of Y2K impact, the company's leadership role in raising awareness of Y2K practically guarantees that its findings will not be ignored. Gartner has consistently been the leader in estimating the technical cost of Y2K and projects that the software costs alone will be $300 billion to $600 billion worldwide. Other analysts have estimated that related costs, including lawsuits, could push total Y2K expenses to $1 trillion.


Full story (including best to least prepared countries list).

-- Bill (, April 22, 1999


From ITAA Update, April 23, 1999

Brits Dispel Big Bang Bug Theory

A new report by the UK's Taskforce 2000 says 60 percent of Y2K failures will occur prior to year end and that 5 to 10 percent of errors will be triggered at the year rollover itself. Ian Hugo, associate director of the taskforce, calls the focus of attention on January 1, 2000 "simplistic and unrealistic." The report, which is available at http://, introduces the notion of the "drag" effect-the time between errors happening and their impact being noticed. The taskforce predicts problems for companies stretching out well into the Year 2000.

-- Bill (, April 23, 1999.

While it _may_ become true in retrospect that y2k fx will be a smear when viewed as a whole, these analyses assume that all y2k related failures will be of equal magnitude.

We continue to hear stories re ocean shipping, air travel, pharmaceutical raw materials, oil, computer components, fragile interrelated world markets, etc. - many of which are not going to experience failure mode because of bookkeeping programs, but will experience failure modes due to complex interactions of dozens to perhaps millions of discreet potential failure points, either thru embedded systems, JIT, supply line transportation, lack of capital, lack of purchaser, failed remediation from a variety of points, etc. (Please notice I'm not even bringing up Federal govt, State govt, and Local govt system degrades and failures - these in themselves having a potential accumulated impact of considerable severity.)

Point being: to JQP, and probably to a large number of businesses, the "smear" of y2k failures is just more spin. Real truth is that 55% for 2000 (let's assume 30% failure rate for 1st qtr 2000), plus the 4th qtr 1999 failures, will both add up to a significant failure rate, one of sufficient magnitude to impact general business and public.

These think tanks may be correct in their assessments, but as they say to the alarmists, "no one will know till after the fact." For this reason, I say they are spewing more spin designed (yes, it is a product) to reduce panic.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, April 24, 1999.

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