Y2K, a serious issue

The joke is that as the clock turns to the new millennium in 14 months,
no one wants to be on an airplane, for fear that its computers will
crash, causing jetliners to come tumbling from the sky.

Concern about Year 2000 computer problems is no joke. The ramifications
are likely to go well beyond what even the most savvy of experts expect.
We are constantly reminded how dependent we are on computers, even those
who claim they are computer illiterate. Computers are in our cars, at
the restaurants we frequent, at our banks, at most businesses, and,
sometimes, even in our refrigerators.

We are a computer dependent society, and if the computers stop, then the
society stumbles.

The real joke may be that time is running short. Fourteen months gives
us little time to fix all the problems that we can foresee, without even
trying to find those that are more obscure.

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Statistics are frightening. The National Federation of Independent
Businesses says that only 20 percent of small companies are doing
anything about the problem, another 20 percent anticipate doing
something, another 40 percent don’t think there’s anything to worry
about, and yet another 20 percent have no clue what the issue is about.

If you or your company has yet to assess your potential liabilities, we
strongly urge that you take advantage of a number of local resources as
quickly as possible. Among these are the local Small Business
Administration office (401-528-4561), the Rhode Island Manufacturing
Extension Services (401-621-5710), Bryant College’s Center for
Management Development (401-232-6323), or a new Rhode Island Y2K
Association (contact Sally Spadaro in the Department of Administration
for the state of Rhode Island).

There are numerous other resources,
private and public, web sites, and your own computer vendor.
Every business needs to assess what steps it must take to assure that
it, its vendors and its customers are Year 2000 compliant.
The consequences of procrastination could be considerable.

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