Y2K Preparedness Ranges From O.K. To Awful

Facing a Mar. 30 deadline to repair their computer systems in anticipation of the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem, federal departments and agencies aren't making much headway, indicates Rep. Stephen Horn (R, Calif.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management. In his latest quarterly report card, Horn gave the Clinton administration a "D" for its Y2K progress. Receiving "F" grades from Horn were the Dept. of Health & Human Services (which sends out Medicare and welfare checks), the Dept. of Justice, the Dept. of Energy, the Dept. of State, and the Agency for International Development. The Defense Dept. got a D-minus. In contrast, at a Nov. 20 press conference, Horn praised the Small Business Administration for becoming the "first agency to have 100% of its mission-critical systems Year 2000 compliant." A more positive report on the Y2K problem was recently issued by Cap Gemini America. With overall Y2K spending nearly doubling over the last six months, from $256 billion in April to $494 billion in October, the preparedness of business and government to manage the effect of the millennium data change on computer systems is rising, according to the consulting firm. Cap Gemini America, which maintains a Millennium Index, says nearly 60% of all available IT labor resources in the U.S. and 11 European countries have been focused on Year 2000 activity. Even with the progress made, though, there is no room for complacency, Cap Gemini reports. Potential impacts include the failure of supply chains, with smaller companies in the greatest danger. The survey, which polled 1,680 companies and organizations, including 251 in the U.S., also found an "absence of business continuity planning." Perhaps more telling, total project cost estimates rose from -- hold onto your computer cabinets -- $719 billion to $858 billion.

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