Battelle Memorial Institute

Since 1925, Battelle has been providing new solutions, technologies and products to both government and private sector clients. Battelle develops the technology behind the products of some of the most successful companies in the world. Our experienced staff of talented professionals is dedicated to resolving your systems year 2000 issues. In addition, Battelle's not-for-profit corporate status permits an independent perspective in analyzing solutions towards year 2000 compliance.

Year 2000 Compliance

What is meant by Year 2000 Compliance? When dealing with a vendor or contractor this is a definition the two of you need to agree to. For some it means that a 4-digit year will be maintained through out the system, for others it means that the software will understand the 2-digit year and interpret it as 4 using a windowing technique. The correct answer for you depends on the type of data and date calculation your system does. Ask your vendor or contractor which approach they have taken. You can't assume it.

What is affected?

  1. Do you have an inventory of all of your systems?
    1. Main frames
    2. Micros
    3. PCs
  2. What versions of your vendor software do you need?
    1. Compilers
    2. Operating system
    3. Off the shelf software
  3. Do you have any embedded failures? -- e.g. BIOS on your PC
  4. Does your company use embedded dates? -- e.g. invoice or contract numbers
  5. How will you test your changes?
    1. Do you have test hardware, where you can set the system date to 2000?
    2. Are you able to age your data and if so how will you do it?
    3. Do you have a test bed?
  6. What about outside interfaces?
    1. Will they send you a 4-digit year?
    2. If you or they are using windowing -- are you using the same window values?
    3. Can the systems receiving your information handle year 2000?
  7. Beware of changing windows in vendor software -- e.g. the date window changed from Office/95 to Office/97

The Steps

The task of resolving the year 2000 issue could be very large for your company or very small. But you will not know which it is until you take that first step and analyze your system(s). To provide a timely correction and ensure your business greater productivity in the twenty first century, we recommend Battelle's five phase methodology.

  1. Identification
    The first step is to identify all the systems in your company. You must not forget the ones developed and maintained outside your IS department. You may elect to ignore those in the renovation phase (step 4), but they still need to be identified as potential failures. You also need to identify all the interfaces internally and externally. These may be possible to change, but more than likely, you will have some that you will not be able to coordinate a change with.
  2. Analysis
    Once all the systems and subsystems have been identified, you need to analyze the scope of the problem. During this phase you may identify systems that are no longer used, or should be redeveloped. This will assist you in step 4. Once you have analyzed the systems you need to prioritize the needed changes. You then need to assess the impacts of this change to than current business development.
  3. Testing
    Testing is a crucial step and should not be underestimated. It is not unreasonable to devote a full year of testing to ensure that the selected correction has remedied the year 2000 change. Testing time will be needed to validate the full suite of applications covering a complete year of the company's business cycle. Special care is also given to system interfaces.
    Testing should start early. Early testing gives you the following advantages:
    1. Your test bed will be complete -- this currently doesn't exist, if it did, you would have already corrected your year 2000 problems.
    2. You will have a baseline -- this will help in identifying new problems created by the changed code.
    3. Help quantify the scope of the problem.
    4. You may find some systems or programs that do not need to be changed.
    5. Time for testing is usually squeezed -- by starting early proper testing will take place.
  4. Retire/Redevelop/Renovate
    1. Yes, you may elect to retire old programs or entire subsystems. This decision may be as simple as identifying unused programs or reports and deleting them. It may also be based on an economic decision, this subsystem will not return the investment required to make it year 2000 compliant.
    2. Secondly, it may be decided to redevelop a subsystem. Such a decision may provide an opportunity to move a mainframe application to client/server.
    3. The third option is to renovate the current system. The following are possible options for renovation:
      1. Conversion to 4-digit year
        Change how the date is stored, passed, entered, reported and used in calculations.
      2. Fixed window
        Use a hundred year window to calculate the high order of the year, e.g. < 50 would be 20xx, > 49 would be 19xx.
      3. Sliding window
        Use sliding hundred-year window. If the dates required by your application range from 70 years in the past to 30 years into the future, in 1997 your window of dates would be 1927 - 2026, next year in 1998 the window would be 1928 - 2027.
      4. Century indicator
        Have a 1-byte field to indicate the century value, e.g. 0 would translate into 19xx, 1 would translate into 20xx
      5. Compress to a binary value.
        Hexadecimal values stored in your current 2-byte field would give you a range of years from 0 to 255. If your start date were 1900 your ending date would be 2155.
    4. It is unlikely that your organization will use only one of the possible solutions. You will probably use a combination of these. Some information may need to maintain the full date, some not, or you may elect to use a common subroutine to calculate the high order of the date. Each situation will need to be examined and decisions made by the Battelle and client team assembled to resolve the year 2000 change. All decisions are based on providing the greatest benefit to the entire business organization
  5. Implement
    Now its time to put your changes into production. Here we need to remember all those interfaces that we had no control over.

GETTING STARTED

The year 2000 is rapidly approaching. Time is running out to implement a comprehensive strategy to accommodate the year 2000 change. Let Battelle provide your company with the cost-effective solutions for year 2000 compliance. If you would like information about Battelle Memorial Institute or how we might be able to assist you, contact Brian Pridmore - E-mail pridmore@battelle.org or call (937) 258-6753.


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