The "hangover" on Jan. 1, 2000 (Y2K) from the failure of computers and microprocessors to process the date may be painful. Here's what you can do to make sure your office sails through.
Check Your Equipment and Software The good news is that Mac-based computers are compliant through 2040. However, if you are one of 260 million PC-based computer users, you have three potential failure points:
*Hardware--Seventy-nine percent of PCs manufactured before 1997 have BIOS chips (these control the system clock) that are not Y2K compliant. Ask your computer vendor how to check your system. There is also a free utility at www.nstl.com that will test your system to see if it will work properly.
*Operating system--Windows 95 and 98 are Y2K-compliant with patches, but DOS and Windows 3.0 and 3.1 will have problems. For information on how to fix them, go to newswww.microsoft.com/technet/topics/year2k , Microsoft's Y2K news source.
*Software--Programs such as spreadsheets and databases rely heavily on dates. So do many meeting planning software programs, but most have patches or new problem-free versions. A quick review of some of the meeting planning packages:
* --Ajenis (Plansoft): fully compliant
* --Complete Event Manager (Ekeba): fully compliant
* --Core Discovery (McGettigan): fully compliant
* --Event Planner Plus (Certain Software): Can process dates after 1999 but operates on 16-bit platform, which is technically not Y2K compliant
* --Gold 2.0 (ISIS): fully compliant
* --IMIS(ASI): fully compliant
* --MeetingPro (Peopleware): Releases after November 1997 are fully compliant.
* --MeetingTrack (Phoenix Solutions): The latest version (4.5) is fully compliant; previous versions can receive a free patch.
Keep in mind: In addition to computers, any other office equipment that tracks the date, such as fax machines or security systems, is vulnerable.
Monitor the Supply Chain We all rely on highly interconnected supply and distribution systems. The electricity that turns on the lights, for example, is part of a North American power grid controlled by mainframe computers, embedded systems, and microcontrollers.
With a system as vast and complex as this, some localized Y2K-induced power outages are almost a certainty. And it is likely that local power failures will bring down much larger areas. Consider that in July 1996, a single, local power outage in Idaho caused 15 western states, Canada, and Mexico to lose electricity.
Other links in the supply chain include transportation (railways, airlines, and truck distribution networks) and telecommunications. To learn more, attend meetings on Y2K impact held by city, local government, and civil defense groups. And be sure to ask your hospitality suppliers about their Y2K compliance plans.
* www.yardeni.com--A very complete site with an emphasis on economic impact
* www.y2ktoday.co-- Lots of links and a great small business evaluation section
* www.year2000.com--The latest Y2K news
* www.vendor2000.com--Lists compliance status for more than 125,000 products and 3,000 vendors