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Countdown Y2K: Business Survival Planning for the Year 2000.

Will the world as we know it end when the year 2000 begins? Only 9 percent of the respondents in a recent Time/CNN poll believed this statement to be true. However, 59 percent were "somewhat/very concerned" about the Y2K problem, and, 59 percent also believed that "equipment with computers will fail." These concerns reveal why dozens of books and hundreds of articles have been written and why so many people are working feverishly to solve this turn-of-the-century problem called the millennium bug.

Since Y2K is truly an "information" problem, all information professionals should find Countdown Y2K- Business Survival Planning for the Year 2000 of special interest. This book is a complete update of 1997's Managing 00 and gives the reader valid insights regarding all aspects of this worldwide crisis. Although readers would have found the book valuable in the early planning for Y2K, it still offers significant value if one concentrates on the aspects that deal with survival: risk management and disaster recovery.

Authors Peter de Jager and Richard Bergeon are two of the most widely recognized experts on the Y2K problem. They write in a clear, easy-to-read style and give a realist's - as opposed to an alarmist's - view of the situation. Bergeron and de Jager consider the Y2K problem more of a management issue than a technical one.

The first section of Countdown Y2K deals effectively with the planning process. One of the first steps the authors suggest is to find, form, and coordinate a Y2K management team. This team must create an awareness of the Y2K situation throughout an organization. Unfortunately, the authors did not recognize the valuable role that an information professional could play on this team.

Chapter 4 asks "What if you've waited until now?" The authors believe that many procrastinators will not have enough time to make all systems Y2K-compliant, and will have to make three tough decisions:

* Which are the mission-critical services that must be available at all times to keep our company alive?

* Which services can we live without for awhile, perhaps forever?

* Which services are not really needed and would not be missed?

After making these decisions, actions must be taken to make sure that mission-critical services are Y2K compliant.

The last segments of the book cover the nuts and bolts of how to put plans into action. Chapter 12, "Staying Afloat," should be of special interest to any information manager whose company may not yet be compliant, because it discusses the implications if the Y2K deadline is not met. The authors suggest there are two management approaches that, if implemented now, can assure millennium viability - risk management and disaster recovery. Some aspects of this chapter will not be new to information managers who have developed effective vital records programs and thus clearly understand the implications of risk management and disaster recovery.

The final chapter explores some of the legal risks and costs associated with the failure to meet the year 2000 compliance deadlines. "Legal costs of the year 2000 crisis are impossible to predict with any accuracy," write the authors. "It is likely that the actual investment in fixing the problem will be dwarfed by the legal costs. Some lawyers estimate the bill will be $1 trillion."

This is a solid book with no-nonsense, straightforward information. Whether you are involved with your company's plan or not, it provides great insights to mitigate the risks. In particular, chapters 4 and 12 are worth the price of the book because they discuss actions necessary to return companies to full productivity, even if their systems might have failed.

TITLE: Countdown Y2K: Business survival Planning for the Year 2000

ISBN: 0-471-32734-4

PUBLISHER: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

PUBLICATION DATE: 1998

LENGTH: 330 pages

PRICE: $36 members/$48 nonmembers

SOURCE: ARMA International Bookstore, http:/www.arma.org or 888-298-9202

James C. Bennett, Ed. D., CRM, FAI, is a professor at the College of Business Administration and Economics, California State University, Northridge. He may be reached at james.bennett@csun.edu.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Bennett, James C.
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:665
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