Wrapping up nearly half a decade of pre-Y2K analysis and prediction, Gartner Group today offered a number of observations regarding how money was spent to remediate IT systems, which industries are best prepared, and how Y2K problems will manifest themselves in the coming year.
Industries and governments worldwide have spent an estimated $300 billion to $600 billion to prepare their IT systems to meet the year 2000 date rollover, with an estimated $150 billion to $225 billion of that spent in the United States, according to Gartner Group research. "Beginning in 1998, we saw companies begin to allocate money specifically to Y2K projects, as much as 40% of some IT budgets," says Matthew Hotle, VP of Gartner Group year 2000 research.
Industries ahead of the curve with preparations were banking, airlines, financial services, and pharmaceuticals. Remediation has generally lagged in areas such as government services and IT systems operated by local municipalities, according to Gartner Group. "In 1997, a substantial amount of hype was needed to get organizations to take action to fix the Y2K problem," Hotle says. In the subsequent years, the increased amount of money dedicated to solving the problem and the determination that less than 10% of all Y2K-related failures will occur during the two weeks surrounding Jan. 1 have helped spread optimism that this New Year's weekend will not bring with it widespread disaster.
While IT professionals have spent the past several years addressing the most obvious areas where date changeover problems could manifest themselves, less obvious areas such as embedded systems and supply-chain communications are the greatest areas of concern at this point, Hotle says. Still, with IT staffs on alert throughout New Year's and beyond, the rollover should mean a relatively quiet weekend with isolated problems, Hotle predicts. "Ninety percent of all problems (such as software failure and data corruption) will be fixed within the first three days of the new year."