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AFRIK-IT  July 1998

AFRIK-IT July 1998

Subject:

Re: South African Y2k State of the Nation

From:

"Watermeyer, Henry" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 6 Jul 1998 11:32:09 +200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (387 lines)

=Date:          Fri, 3 Jul 1998 19:04:12 +0200
=Reply-to:      "African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List"
=               <[log in to unmask]>
=From:          Chris Anderson <[log in to unmask]>
=Subject:       South African Y2k State of the Nation
=To:            [log in to unmask]

Good morning


=Attached is the first public Y2k Status Report on South Africa.
=This is an important first for us as it is the first time that an overall
=country position has been available. I think congratulations are in order
=for Mohamed Madhi and his team.

With out doubt they should be congratulated for what they have
achieved in a very short time, however I suggest that what this report
reflects is a very serious situation indeed for this country.


=(Their latest motto : "The Bug Stops here")

This unfortunatlty is not and cannot be true.

In fact mottos of this type are potentially lethal because they
engender a sense of well being that says "I dont have to do anything
its all being handled for me by central government."

Its the "Bill Gates will fix it therefore I dont have a problem"
syndrome and its very dangerous.

=----------------------------------------------------------------------------
=-------
=               Y2K State of the Nation Report
=                        Mohamed Madhi
=
=                    NYDSC - 24 June 1998
=
=Progress Report
=- Impact Assessment Summary
=- Government Mission Critical Systems
=- Highlights & Lowlights - Y2K Center
=- International Trends
=- Recommendations
=
=Overall Status - Timeous Completion
=- 70% of government departments anticipate completing in
= time.

Read this projection in combination with the points that I have
highlighted below by ####s. Its naivety of the worst kind and if
government is buying to this kind of generalisation heaven help us.


=- 80% - local authorities, excl. embedded systems

"exl.embedded systems". Ye gads what about power reticulation, water
services, sewage processing, traffic lights, etc, etc. Elmar knows
far more about this than I do but this statement doesnt fill me with joy.


=- 90% - large organisations
=- SMME's results not statistically reliable

This is unfortunate because I believe the real risk to SA lies in
this and the government sectors. Mom and pop business that fail
are going to have a major domino effect just because there are so
many of them and so few people to help solve the problem after
they are in trouble.


=
=
=Overall Assessment
=- Survey of over 3000 organisations, govt. depts., LA's,
= SMME's etc.
=- Responses (10%) analysed by a team of risk analysts and
=statisticians from NYDSC and the CSIR.

Having been one of the 90% who didn't respond to the survey, partly
because I found it complex and confusing I suggest that to base any
kind of projections on a 10% response is not sound. I know the statisticians
will argue with me but the y2k problem is one which may people dont
understand, if they didnt understand the questionnaire, how can they
possibly understand the problem or attempt to resolve it..

To project the complience of the whole country on a reponse of 300
must surely be extremely risky. What if one who didnt respond was
Eskom and they hadn't done anything, or Telkom? {Note that I am not
for one moment suggesting that Eskom or Telkom have done nothing}
We operate in an environment dominated by a very few key players.

=- Results cross-correlated with data from other surveys,
=notably Reserve Bank & private sector, international
=benchmarks, ops room data and sector committees feedback.
=
=Status - Budgets
=- 46% of government departments have prepared budgets
###########################################


=- 65% of local authorities
###################


=- 61% of large organisations
=
=Status -Project Teams
=- 40% of government depts. have inadequately skilled
= project teams
########################################


=- 53% of local authorities have inadequate skills
###################################


=- 20% of large organisations have inadequate skills
=
=
=Status - Quality of Action Plans
=- 36% of govt. dept. action plans inadequate
#################################


=- 40% of local authorities action plans inadequate
#####################################


=- 24% of large organisations action plans inadequate
=
=Status - Recovery Processes
=- 42% of government departments have Recovery Processes in
= place
################################################


=- 39% - local authorities
##################


=- 78% - large organisations
=
=Status - Contingency Plans
=- 42% of govt. departments have contingency measures in
= place
############################################


=- 37% - local authorities
##################



=- 60% - large organisations
=
=Status - Expenditure Ratios
=- Government. Departments - 1.5% of budget spent on Y2K
= project
=- Local Authorities - 0.3% of budget

Can this be enough?? Many local authorities are large and complex
organisations.

They operate on very tight budgets and have very little flexibility
in how they spend what they get allocated to them.


=- Large Organisations - 7%
=
=Status - NYDSC Conclusions
=- Government departments and local authorities have
= underestimated time required for completion.

Without a doubt.


=- Sector committees provide a forum to correlate data -
=these indicate budget provisions have not been correctly
=estimated.

Oh great!


=- 40% of project work will be completed in the last two
=quarters of 1999 for those departments that have already
=begun.

This is just impossible.

The shortage of staff coupled with the Basic Conditions of Employment
Act, which is certainly to be in effect by then, will guarentee that
it cannot happen.

Bear in mind that enforcement of the BCE will come from people not
included in special (illegal) overtime deals and not from those who
volunteer for those arrangements.

Even if  government departments can find the money, and their current
comittment of budget as reflected abouve says they wont,  there will not be
people or time left to do the job.

=- Projected national compliance would be between 50-60 %.

And what about the rest?  Has any attempt been made to assess the
risk of what is not done or priorities of what has to be done.

Its a fallicy to assume that the unfinished 50% will be completed
within a reasonable time frame after 20000101 and if these systems
are infact required systems how is the country going to operate
until they are working properly? At the time of the survey we were around
20 months away from the dead line. Using simple arithmetic this means
that it will take nearly 2 years to complete the job assuming people
and funds are available!!!!

=Current calculated value is 15-20 %

In fact using these figures it will take even longer!!!
35% in 20 months means that the remaing 50% will take around 29
months!!

I bet you wont get too many people still willing to work on fixing
y2k problems in 2001.


=
=Government Mission Critical Systems
=- 68 mission critical systems identified.
=- Six generic phases of Y2K project progress defined.
=- Systems categorised in terms of phase of Y2K project.
=
=Project Phases

>>>>> snip because I dont understand exactly what is meant but if
what is reflected under each category is the status of only those
perceived to be critical, ie the 68 mentioned above, then its time to
find a hole in the ground and lie low. You dont want to draw an old
age pension, write matric, buy or sell a house or have to go to
hospital to name just a few.

=
=
=Mission Critical Systems Summary
=- Assessment Phase
=  - 12 systems
=- Analysis and Planning Phase
=  - 24 systems
=- Remediation Phase
=  - 30 systems
=- Integration or Testing Phase
=  - None
=
=
=Y2K Center - Highlights
=- JSE Y2K disclosure requirements for listed companies
= adopted as per NYDSC recommendations.

What possible good can this do other than reinforce good business
practice and common law. Its a political warm phrase and not a serious
plan.


=- Strong private sector co-operation and support

Its going to cost someone!!!



=- Local Authorities project awareness increased from less
=than 5% to over 50% due to awareness campaign and Public
=Sector committees.

50% of who? All local authorities!!! You be the judge of what this
comment actually means at this stage..


=- SMME awareness raised as measured by the number of calls
=received at help desk on toll free number.
=- NYDSC rated among top 5 Y2K Govt. bodies globally by
=Gartner and other international experts.
=- Compliance definition being more frequently used as a
=benchmark
=- SADC countries view NYDSC as center of excellence

Which will only put more load on the already scarce resources!
Playing this kind of role brings tremendous responsibilities with it.

=
=
=Y2K Center - Lowlights
=- Staff being sought after by industry and hence retention
= could become a problem.

Bigger problem I would suggest is the high emigration rate to places
like the US, UK and, I hear now, Holland.


=- National Y2K Training program has not seen substantial
=progress due to private sector skepticism
=- IT Association not happy with compliance definition, want
=standard to be lower than Europe and North America

Who is the IT Association???

How can the standard be lower or higher than elsewhere. Our systems
have to work in 2000, to say nothing of being part of a world and not
isolated. We might, although its hard to see how, have differing
standards but they cannot be lower.

I suggest that defining year 2000 complience is a business problem
and cannot be left to IT specialists, assuming that is what the IT
Association is made up of.

IT specialists need to make sure that the requirements are practical
but it is management that must be sure that they meet business needs.

=- Dumping of non-compliant equipment not monitored
=
=Key International Trends
=- Australian government has introduced tax breaks for
= companies undertaking Y2K compliance conversion.
=- Singapore and Britain have announced aid to SMME's with
=respect to Y2K work.
=- Some American companies who have started the testing
=phase report significant problems.

All good stuff in countries that are not heavily dependent on central
government agencies to provide basic services.


=
=Recommendations
=- Anti-dumping legislation be introduced for non Y2K
= equipment and software

Great but of little real value at this stage I suspect.


=- Tax concessions be investigated for SMME's

Excellent idea but why limit it to SMME's?


=- A National Y2K Awareness day be declared on the 500th day
=before 1/1/2000 (19/8/98).
=- Executive pressure be exerted to ensure government
=mission critical systems are compliant.

It may not be politically a great time to do this but I would not
like to be part of the next ruling party if the present one doesn't
do something about this soon.


=------------------------------------------------------------------------
=Chris Anderson          email:                       [log in to unmask]

Chris, I think SA maybe better of than elsewhere in Africa but this
report only serves to emphasis just how deeply we are in trouble.

Ed Yourdins projection of a greater than 60% probablity of an
international depression looks to be optimistic as far as SA is
concerned.

We need to help Mohamed Madhi all we can but I am dreadfull afraid
that the famous little Dutch boy had a simple job compared to Mr
Madhi's. He only had to stick one finger in one hole!

Henry



=Y2K Cinderella Project          [log in to unmask]
=http://www.cinderella.co.za             Striving for Year 2000 Compliance
=------------------------------------------------------------------------
=
=====================================================================
Subscribe to the IT Digest, an information resource from Wits Univ.
Send e-Mail to [log in to unmask]  with SUBSCRIBE ITDIGEST
and {your_user_id} in the body followed by END on the next line.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Henry C Watermeyer                         'Phone +27-11-716-3260/8000
Director - Computer & Network services     Fax    +27-11-339-1225
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
P/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa           mobile +27-(0)82-800-8862
                 //SunSITE.Wits.ac.za      //WWW.Wits.ac.za
======================================================================

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