COMPUTERS AND THE PROBLEM 2000 IN THE BUSINESS WORLD

Computers play a huge role in Government, Economy, and Financial affairs. Based on the
information concerning the year 2000 computer crash project (y2k), people are realizing
how much of the economy depends on computers. The age of electronics and more
specifically, computers, has caused a tremendous shift in the way we do business today.
Today, many business people wouldn’t be able to function efficiently without
communications as we know it, for example, e-mail or fax-on-demand. We have gotten so
accustomed to the presence of computers and to what they provide, that many of us don’t
remember what it was like before. This paper will attempt to discuss computers and their
impact on how we do business, and the problems we will have because of the computer
problem 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 serious
concern of computer systems to function correctly in the year 2000(Andrews). One must
understand the computer systems perform logic functions based on date information to
understand 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-digit
representation of the month, and a two-digit representation of the day. The is the
YYMMDD format. What is apparent is that this format omits the first two digits(19) of
the calendar year.

An example of the YYMMDD format for master-card or visa companies and the problem
it hold is as follows: Suppose the current date is April 10, 1997 (970410 in YYMMDD
format). The expire date of the credit card is March 31, 1997 (970331). The computer
would 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 expire
date. 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 date
would be represented as 000102. If the computer were to logically compare this current
date 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 Street
Journal will begin its first round of testing soon on how the industry’s order placement
systems will perform after Dec. 31, 1999(Chruch). Merrill Lynch’s research analysts have
concluded that most large corporations are “reasonable confident” their computer systems
will 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 year
2000 problem cannot affect. Telecommuting is the technology that made business’s more
flexible. For instance, some employees connect from their computer to the office network
and perform their job function from home. More then two million corporations are now
telecommuting full-time. If an individual’s duties don’t require them to be physically in
the office, this flexibility is perfect for employees to perform their job while controlling
their own schedule. These employees can still communicate while working at home
through e-mail and fax.

The growth and innovations of the computer brought along with it many aspects of the
business world. The global market has created the need for fast communications over a
long distance. Teleconferencing and E-mail are two excellent examples of technologies
that have met these needs and have literally transformed the way the business world
operates.

Teleconferencing, in some companies, has all but replaced “physical” meetings. It has
reduced travel costs and the loss of productivity as a result of the travel time required to
attend the meetings. Electronic mail (E-mail) has transformed business communication
like no other technology. In a simple inter-office communications, E-mail has helped to
advance the global market and provides immediate information transfer(Siemens).

Computers are also a managers dream for analyzing a decision for a major company. The
computer has software that enables managers