COMPUTERS AND THE PROBLEM 2000 IN THE BUSINESS WORLD Computers play a huge role in Government, Economy, and Financial affairs. Based on theinformation concerning the year 2000 computer crash project (y2k), people are realizinghow much of the economy depends on computers. The age of electronics and morespecifically, computers, has caused a tremendous shift in the way we do business today. Today, many business people wouldn t be able to function efficiently withoutcommunications as we know it, for example, e-mail or fax-on-demand. We have gotten soaccustomed to the presence of computers and to what they provide, that many of us don tremember what it was like before. This paper will attempt to discuss computers and theirimpact on how we do business, and the problems we will have because of the computerproblem of 2000. In the last decade, businesses have spent $1 trillion US dollars for technology(Marciano). Now they are looking at a computer crash in the year 2000. The y2k project is a seriousconcern of computer systems to function correctly in the year 2000(Andrews). One mustunderstand the computer systems perform logic functions based on date information tounderstand this major concern. Dates in a computer system are stored as six-digit numeric. These six-digits consist of the last two digits of the calendar year, a two-digitrepresentation of the month, and a two-digit representation of the day. The is theYYMMDD format. What is apparent is that this format omits the first two digits(19) ofthe calendar year. An example of the YYMMDD format for master-card or visa companies and the problemit hold is as follows: Suppose the current date is April 10, 1997 (970410 in YYMMDDformat). The expire date of the credit card is March 31, 1997 (970331). The computerwould logically compare the current date to the expire date: 970410 (current date) - 970331 (expire date) ----------- + 79 The result of this comparison would be that the current date is greater than the expiredate. This would indicate that the credit card is due for renewal. Now, lets assume that the current date is Jan. 2, 2000. In YYMMDD format, this datewould be represented as 000102. If the computer were to logically compare this currentdate to an expire date of Dec. 30, 1999: 000102 (current date) - 991230 (expire date) ----------- -991128 Page 2. This result is less then . This would indicate that the credit card does not need to be renewed for another 100 years. This is the concern that has been referred to as the year 2000 issue. Considering all the
functions that are date sensitive and involve legacy computer systems: airline reservations,document renewal, scheduling, accounting, and even stock markets. The Wall StreetJournal will begin its first round of testing soon on how the industry s order placementsystems will perform after Dec. 31, 1999(Chruch). Merrill Lynch s research analysts haveconcluded that most large corporations are reasonable confident their computer systemswill be ready for the milennium (Church). All these functions and more risk failure on Jan. 1, 2000, due to this potential problem. Computers are also a major form of communication in the business world, which the year2000 problem cannot affect. Telecommuting is the technology that made business s moreflexible. For instance, some employees connect from their computer to the office networkand perform their job function from home. More then two million corporations are nowtelecommuting full-time. If an individual s duties don t require them to be physically inthe office, this flexibility is perfect for employees to perform their job while controllingtheir own schedule. These employees can still communicate while working at homethrough e-mail and fax. The growth and innovations of the computer brought along with it many aspects of thebusiness world. The global market has created the need for fast communications over along distance. Teleconferencing and E-mail are two excellent examples of technologiesthat have met these needs and have literally transformed the way the business worldoperates. Teleconferencing, in some companies, has all but replaced physical meetings. It hasreduced travel costs and the loss of productivity as a result of the travel time required toattend the meetings. Electronic mail (E-mail) has transformed business communicationlike no other technology. In a simple inter-office communications, E-mail has helped toadvance the global market and provides immediate information transfer(Siemens). Computers are also a managers dream for analyzing a decision for a major company. Thecomputer has software that enables managers to input the major decisions facing them formaximization of profit, and wealth, and even shareholders wealth. The computer can thengenerate a decision which would be more financial for the company or the stock holder. Stock brokers also take advantage of computerized information. A stock broker may usethe computer to find out how a certain company has been operating for the past years, andhow their stocks have been doing. This can let the stock broker know is the company isstable or at high risk. Page 3. Computers are a major source of information for business, economy, and financial affairs. The y2k problem will be a down-fall for many businesses, but when the problem is fixed,computers will be back and technology will advance some more.