Standing Room Only At Courier’s Y2K Conference – QNS.com

Standing Room Only At Courier’s Y2K Conference

An overflow audience at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel last Thursday evening heard experts on the Y2K "computer bug" problem separate fact from fiction about the millennium issue during a special Town Hall Meeting sponsored by The Queens Courier.
The free meeting, co-sponsored by the United States Small Business Adminstration and Incremax Technologies, a New York software services firm, featured a multi-media presentation detailing how the Y2K problem will particularly affect small businesses, of which there are 48,000 in Queens alone.
The principle speakers were Kerry Gerontianos, president of Incremax and Bob Cordes of the SBA who also fielded questions from the audience on everything from how the Y2K problem will affect air travel, automobiles, credit cards and home heating systems.
As a result of the large turnout, Queens Courier publisher Victoria Schneps said that the newspaper will run a weekly series of articles on various aspects of the Y2K problem each week (see article on this page) until the damage of the year 2000 on Jan. 1, as well as a second conference to be held in late spring.
Only about half of American small businesses (which constitute more than 50 percent of the nation’s private workforce) have taken steps to develop a plan to deal adqeuately with the coming calendar change to the year 2000, or Y2K.
"Those companies that haven’t taken steps, and that are sure to be operating in a future business enviornment that is Y2K-compliant, runt he risk of being written off as unreliable partners. This prospect makes becoming Y2K-compliant now a definitive business plus," said Gerontianos.
The executive told the Town Hall Meeting that while solution to Y2K problems are readily available, there is no "silver bullet" that will sovle the problems of all companies. Outlining steps that companies can take to neutralize problems brought on by the calendar change, Gerontianos said that the situation is far from hopeless. He emphasized, though, that time is runing out in which to determine the extent of the Y2K problem(s) each business may have, and to develop and implement a plan to correct them. "The clock is ticking and sitting still is not an option," the software executive said.
Gerontianos stressed that most PCs, especially those sold before 1996, are just as much in need of Y2K maintenance as large, mainframe computer systems. He added that smaller companies are generally at greater risk to Y2K difficulties because larger companies have already invested large sums of money to nullify calendar obstacles that could paralyze their businesses.
The conduct of business today is increasingly date-dependent, the software executive said, and companies that are unable to order or dleiver supplies on time, recognize and process credit cards with valid expiration dates, or issue timely, accurate invoices and payroll checks will severely undercut their own ability to survive.
Gerontianos said that though the Y2K problem begins with a computer failure, its solution resides principally in the hands of business managers, into technical employees or consultants. The failure of a computer to read dates accurately will affect business partners, vendors, suppliers, cusotmers, creditors, and others. All of these constitute a "business supply chain" in which all companies must participate to stay alive, he said. IOt is a large problem and must be treated as such, he continued.
Gerontianos sees this kind of computer failure as a business failure. "It must be addressed proactively with a business plan, into a technological plan, and the plan must include an assessment of the problem and its business impact, prioritization, the setting of milestones, and contingency planning," he outlined.
Becoming Y2K-compliant, the Incremax (CEO said, entails taking a close look at all internal and external busines operations, form whether your elevators will continue to work to whether, for example, your suppliers will be able to continue to supply you on a timely basis. "If your supplierss can’t keep you supplied because they have not solved their Y2K problems, then you will be left with idle workers, in addition to angry customers who haven’t gotten their products from you," he pointed out.

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