BUY LINES

Readiness data paints positive picture

Robert J. Sherry

We're in the home stretch now for year 2000. Even a cursory tour of the Web suggests that state and local governments have accelerated their efforts tremendously in the past five months since I last surveyed the problem. So, as the year draws to a close and in keeping with the theme of this issue, I'll take one last look at the state of 2000 readiness preparations in a few selected states and municipalities.

States that coordinated a strong approach to assessing and addressing potential 2000 pitfalls are among the leaders in the field. Massachusetts is one of these leaders. Its 2000 team reports that as a result of its concerted and aggressive handling of date code remediation projects, all of its assessment activities are complete, and more than 96 percent of its systems renovation tasks also are finished.

California is a state in which officials have taken a centralized approach to the problem'but with limited success. Earlier this year, Gov. Gray Davis ordered creation of a program management office to supervise state 2000 preparedness activities. Only two-thirds of California's systems are now fully 2000-ready, which should cause some concern among its residents.

Overall, it appears that many states are close to completing their 2000 efforts for so-called mission-critical systems'those that encompass public safety, public health, finance and personnel portions of government services. Responding to a recent National Association of State Information Resource Executives survey, 17 states reported last month that they had completed more than 90 percent of each of four basic 2000 activities: assessment, renovation, validation and implementation. The states were Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Nineteen states, including the 17 above, reported that at least 90 percent of their mission-critical systems were now 2000-ready, with Illinois and Colorado joining the list.

Nebraska gave itself a perfect report card in the NASIRE survey. Officials there assert that they have completed 100 percent of their assessment, renovation, validation and implementation activities, and that all mission-critical systems are ready.

Cities seem to be faring OK, too. Towns from Athens, Ga., to Youngstown, Ohio, expect to have all date code problems resolved shortly.



Robert J. Sherry is a partner at the law firm McKenna & Cuneo LLP. He heads the government contracts practice in its San Francisco office, counseling information technology companies on federal, state and local issues.

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