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AFRIK-IT  April 1998

AFRIK-IT April 1998

Subject:

Re: Y2K...Business (risk) or IT Problem

From:

Chris Anderson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 4 Apr 1998 18:40:49 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (193 lines)

I am replying to two questions at once just to conserve
bandwidth.


At 04:43 1998-04-04 -0500, Vincent Wright  wrote:
>Chris Anderson wrote:
>>Y2k is not about PC's or Mainframes or whatever. It is about
>> business risk. It has nothing to do with IT, it is a Business problem.
>
>Chris,
>Please, Please, Please enlighten us!
>Help us to understand how Y2K is not about PCs or Mainframes but rather
>a pure business problem.
>Please help us to understand how it has nothing to do with IT.
>Who from the business department with fix the source code which is
>the fundamental issue at the heart of this problem?
>What business tools will the business department use to crate new
>date objects?
>Help us to understand your statements...this could really be
>important to the world if Y2K has nothing to do with PCs or
>Mainframes or IT..We could avoid having to search for and hire
>all of these programmers worldwide.
>
At 12:45 1998-04-04 -0800, Clement Dzidonu wrote:
>Chris...just spotted your last posting (and that if Vincent in
>reponse)...
>
>> I guess you wrote:
>
>> Y2k is not about PC's or Mainframes or whatever. It is about business
>> risk. It has nothing to do with IT, it is a Business problem.
>
>By all estimation you are one of the leading authorities on this
>subject....but like Vincent I am a bit baffled by your statement....
>Perhaps there is something on this subject some of us haven't picked up
>yet...that will explain your point. I must admit that I only recently
>began to research and write on this subject as a way of following you
>and Patrick O'Beirne led....
>
>Please kindly  tell us... True/False (T/F)
>
>.... The  Y2K.....it is...
>
>1. Both  an IT and Business (risk) Problem
>2. An IT problem (only)
>3. An business (risk) problem (only)
>4. Both  an IT and Business (risk) Problem with a business solution
>5. Both  an IT and Business (risk) Problem with an IT solution
>6. Both  an IT and Business (risk) Problem with both an IT and business
>solution
>7. An IT problem with a business (risk) solution
>8. An  IT problem with an IT solution
>9. An busines (risk)  problem with an IT solution
>10. An busines (risk)  problem with business (risk)  solution
>11. An IT problem with both an IT and  a business (risk) solution
>12. A business (risk) problem  with both an IT and  a business (risk)
>solution
>13. Non of the Above...
>
>I think the bottom-line is we need to get some of the "not so helpful
>Y2K myths" out of the way....before it takes a firm hold on the ground.
>

This thread started on an discussion (argument) which
(inter alia) was contesting the importance of which
type of system was relevant to Y2k, PC's or Mainframes.
A pointless argument in my opinion, both are important.

My comment has to be read in context to the message it
referred to.

>At 15:11 1998-04-03 +0200, Dr Eberhard W Lisse <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

>Apart from the technical side, it's a matter of
priorities...

An approach with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Dr Lisse also went on to say:

>We should concentrate on the main frames first, so that the
>economies remain functional.

If your business priority is relevant to mainframes,
then concentrate on that area first.  If mainframes are
not the prime priority, this could be a disastrous
decision.

> Once that is done we can look at the few devices
> that we actually can do something about.

Here again, if your business priorities set this action
on a lower scale of priority, this would be valid.
This is the essence of Triage, "working only on the
things we can do something about".

The point I was attempting to make, obviously
unsuccessfully, is that the crucial Y2k decisions are
based on the reality of your business priorities, not
on whether you are using PC's as opposed to mainframes,
or both.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Business priorities are a 10
(high), technical IT problems are a 1 (low).

The IT problem exists, but Business Priority is a far
more important issue.  You might, for example, decide
to scrap the mainframe (or IT) completely.

The real issue is Risk Management.

Make sure you only hire those programmers if it meets
the demands of your Business Risk assessment.

We are dealing with Strategic, not Operational, issues.

You have to have a Contingency Plan based on Business
priorities.  You have to answer the question "What do
we do if our Y2k plan does not work?".

IT are not geared to solve these Business problems,
this can only be done under direction of the Board and
the CEO and CFO.

The problem has become bigger and more serious than we
first anticipated.

Now this is not a random idea that I dreamed up on the
spot.

The last two months of my life have been filled with
Conferences, both as a speaker and in the chair.  And
based on discussions and feedback and ongoing
evaluations, global perceptions of the scope and ways
to address the Y2k problem are changing.

In essence, the Business problem is now at the top of
the list with all the big International Audit firms and
Consultancy Houses.

We are discovering that Legal issues, Regulatory
changes, threats to Infrastructure and Economies etc
are changing the perceptions of the Y2k remediators.

We are discovering that once you actually get started
on fixing the problems, the task is found to be bigger
and more difficult than planned.

Because time is limited, and procrastination has eroded
the time available for solutions, Systemic Triage is
now the only real option left.  We have to save what we
can and ditch the rest.

It is all very well to make your own organisation
compliant, but if your supply chain and customer set
are unprepared, or if the infrastructure of your
country is damaged, you will go down the tubes equally
effectively.

Compound this state of affairs in the "Y2k enlightened"
world with the position in Africa, where if any action
has begun, it is only at the "Inventory" or "Awareness"
stage.

To answer Clement, I see the correct answer to be 10.
A business (risk) problem with a business (risk)
solution.

Let me rephrase my comment:

"From a Strategic point of view, Y2k is not about PC's
or Mainframes or whatever.  It is about Business Risk."

Far from being a "Myth", this represents "bleeding
edge" state of the art thinking.

Patrick O'Beirne and I raised the Y2k issue on AFRIK-IT
more than a year ago, with nil response or interest.
The world does not stand still.  What was true a year
ago is no longer true.  We achieved nothing, and in the
meantime the problem got worse.

I am still convinced that Y2k is a Business Problem
that can be solved (or mitigated) by the application of
common Business sense.  But it requires committment
from all the protaganists, and Political Will.  And it
needs it NOW.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Anderson          email:                       [log in to unmask]
Y2K Cinderella Project          [log in to unmask]
http://www.cinderella.co.za             Striving for Year 2000 Compliance
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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