Mexico - Problems with PeopleSoft software; Y2k monitoring until end of 2000greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Despite doomsday hype, Mexican systems, and systems worldwide, passed through the year 2000 changeover virtually unscathed. Was all the worry just much ado about nothing?
by Scarlet Pruitt and John Rozzo
According to Mexicos National Y2K Information Conversion Commission, the country spent US$6.5 billion in the public and private sectors to avoid the egregious error; Venezuela spent an estimated US$1.5 billion; and Russia is said to have shelled out anywhere between US$200 million and US$1 billion.
Elia Hernandez, manager of the Customer Care department for software provider Peoplesofts Mexico City office, says that the companys Year 2000 team will continue to monitor the situation at least through the end of this year.
"We are doing monitoring work around the clock," Hernandez says. "Some customers have had minor problems, but the news so far is encouraging."
Hernandez reports that, in general, the company is happy with its transition, thanks, it says, to the hard work it did in advance of the changeover that diminished the risks.
"Nevertheless, our products and services dont stand alone, so the companys preparations included bracing itself for failures across the global operations network (including) clients' problems," Hernandez adds.
Not only have some tests failed to foresee the variations and inter-operability among numerous computer systems, many have overlooked leap yearan extra day on Feb. 29. Thats right, those disappointed by the decrescendo of the year 2000 rollover are given another opportunity to face technological chaos.
Lets go back to that fickle Gregorian calendar: Although the calendar requires the insertion of an extra day at the end of February every four years, and skips it at the end of a century, it puts it back when the century is divisible by 400.
If programmers were not savvy about this particular clause in the leap-year rule, chances are they did not program in the extra day, which would affect processes by thwarting time calculations.
For this reason, Gilberto Calvillo, director of systems at the Bank of Mexico, warns that "it's still not time to drop our guard."
Although Mexico's banks and stock exchanges made the Jan. 1 transition without problems, Calvillo warns that Feb. 29 will be the next Y2K hurdle for financial institutions.
Computer consultants such as Juan Serrano, director of Joint Future Systems, say serious problems such as additional date calculations may continue. To prevent this, Serrano has recommended that his clients beginand continueongoing procedures that protect their investment in IT. These have included hard copies of critical information, regular data backup and consistent hardware and software procedures.
Andy Kyte, a Gartner Group analyst, summed up experts hesitancy to declare complete triumph over the Y2K bug just yet, telling the U.S. press: "Who could have predicted so few problems? But closer analysis will show (that) we have to wait and see whether under full load (of automated data processing), doing all their transactions, systems can be normal."
Juan Bustillo, Y2K project leader for automotive supplier Visteon's Mexican operations, is confident, however. He points out that Visteon followed guidelines outlined by the Automotive Industry Action Group, which include a review for the extra leap-year day, allowing the company to "pass the final Y2K exam at the top of its class."
Indeed, as of press time, no serious Y2K-related problems have been reported in the country. The millennium bug has even failed to bite the closely-scrutinized Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which was considered to be one of Mexicos more vulnerable agencies due to its diverse and complicated systems.
"We have been unable to find any significant Y2K incidents," says Fernando Cortis, a spokesperson for the CFEs Y2K center. "I am pleased and proud of our work."
He notes, however, that the agencys final reports will not be completed until March.
"It's too early to say it's over," he says. "We have another three or four months of monitoring."
Other areas of the country's infrastructure are reporting similar success.
Telecommunications infrastructure and Internet are working as hoped.
Rail, maritime, public transportation and pipeline systems in Mexico are also functioning normally. There were fears that aircraft were especially vulnerable to the Y2K problem, and would create major transportation quandaries during the holiday season, despite preparations. Fortunately, this was not the case.
The domestic airline industry took thorough steps to prevent any serious problems by performing Y2K simulations last July, which were hailed a success by international aviation organizations and government agencies.
Financial markets were another major cause for concern, but they too passed into the new year without incident.
"Because of the attention and dedication of the Mexican banking community, we are seeing that our systems are working well overall," she says.
High price to pay
With little to report in terms of Y2K-related glitches, its no surprise that business owners and executives are beginning to grumble over what they feel were excessive Y2K costs, which entailed new equipment, consultant fees, extra personnel and work interruptions.
In the face of this global backlash, IT experts are now turning their efforts to defending the time and money poured into preventing a year-2000 information meltdown, noting that the reason no serious Y2K problems surfaced is because they successfully solved the error.
But in Mexico, as in other strapped economies, there is still some debate over why Y2K spending was so costly.
"A lot of people (misspent because) they listened to ill-informed consultants who were scaring everyone instead of giving sound advice," says Joint Future Systems Serrano. But despite the fact that Serrano feels that the Y2K fears were "ridiculous hype," he also sees the good that came from people taking technology more seriously.
Carlos Suarez, director of systems and supervisor of the Y2K Command Center at public relations agency Burson-Marsteller, played up the return on investment that is possible by maintaining the year-2000 level of cooperation among various sectors of the media, industry and government on technology matters. From his perspective, companies, Internet users and the public are more aware of information technology and the value of preventative measures.
Other companies, such as Dupont Mexico, are also seeing the benefits that technology cooperation reaped.
"The goal for Dupont was to have zero security incidents and maintain normal operations through the transition, and that's exactly what we're glad to say we accomplished," says Gerardo Lspez, the company's Y2K leader.
Scarlet Pruitt is the editor of Business Mexico. John Rozzo is CEO of Mango Digital, an Internet strategy and marketing consultancy based in Mexico City.
Business Mexico Magazine, Tech Report
-- Lee Maloney (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 16, 2000
Using the Alta Vista Spanish-to-English translator, the following are Mexican customers of PeopleSoft software, as posted on PeopleSoft's website at http://checkers.peoplesoft.com/ourcust.nsf/CustRegionLA? OpenView .....
Latin America Customers ABA Insurances SA Mexico
Aerovias of Mexico SA of CV Mexico
National Bank of Mexico Mexico
Mexican Company of Aviation SA of CV Mexico Tecnologicos Conductors of Juarez Mexico
Home Partnership SA of CV Mexico
Copamex Corporative SA of CV Mexico
The Palace of Iron Mexico
Eli Lilly and Company of Mexico SA of CV Mexico
Giant SA of CV Mexico
National Provincial Group SA Mexico
Industrial Lajat SA of CV Mexico
KPMG Cardenas Dosal SC Mexico
Mancera SC Mexico
Miditel SA of CV Mexico
PMI International Commerce SA of CV Mexico
Promeco SA of CV Mexico
Ruiz Urquiza and Company SC Mexico
Mexican Satellites SA of CV Mexico
Aztec TV SA of CV Mexico
Source: PeopleSoft, Inc website - PeopleSoft Mexico
-- Lee Maloney (email@example.com), February 16, 2000.