Microsoft Announces Year 2000 Resource Center
REDMOND, Wash., April 15, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today published a new, comprehensive resource center on the Web to help customers with their solutions for the year 2000 problem. The site – http://www.microsoft.com/year2000/ has substantial new material, including a product guide that outlines the year 2000 compliance status of specific Microsoft ® products.
Of the products tested, the vast majority are compliant or compliant with minor issues that are now fully documented. In addition, if the product guide specifies that a fix or service pak is required for compliance, Microsoft will provide it at no additional charge. Products compliant or compliant with minor issues include the Microsoft Windows NT® Server and Workstation operating systems 4.0, the Microsoft Windows® 95 operating system, Office 4 Standard, Office 95 Standard and Professional editions as well as Office 97 Standard and Professional.
For the few products that are not year 2000-compliant, such as Word 5 for DOS, the guide explains why and gives the recommended steps to compliance. The guide will be updated continually as tested product information becomes available and will give viewers the ability to quickly locate the information they need.
The resource center also provides information about the steps customers should take to identify and reduce their exposure to software problems related to the year 2000, along with information about how Microsoft products, services and industry partners can best help customers with their overall solutions.
The guide and resource center are part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to address the year 2000 needs of customers by providing the following:
A definition of compliance that provides for the simple categorization of specific Microsoft products as compliant, compliant with minor issues, or not compliant.
Details indicating how clock information is obtained, stored and used in Microsoft products.
A clear description of how to bring noncompliant Microsoft products into compliance. Depending on the status, this may include linked patches, identified service packs or new versions to consider.
Components for a solution, including Microsoft technologies and the human resources of Microsoft Certified Solution Providers and other strategic partners.
“Microsoft has been working closely with customers to identify the information they need about our products and to help with their Y2K compliance programs,”
said Paul Maritz, Microsoft group vice president of platforms and applications.
“We understand the critical nature of this issue and will provide customers with high-quality information and compliant products, as well as assure that our future products meet these compliance standards.”
Microsoft Year 2000 Product Guide Is Highlight of New Web Site
The centerpiece of the resource center is Microsoft’s year 2000 product guide, the main source of information about how Microsoft products handle the year 2000 issue. The guide clearly identifies whether a Microsoft product tested as year 2000-compliant, and provides detailed information on the product, dependencies that affect its compliance, common user errors that can cause problems, and testing recommendations. The resource center also includes a year 2000 tools guide, a directory of third-party vendors providing year 2000 tools for the PC platform, and Microsoft products.
Microsoft Products Can Be a Key Component in Overall Year 2000 Solution
For many Microsoft customers, resolving year 2000 issues may be as simple as loading the identified patch or service pak for the Microsoft product. Complex environments, however, require more sophisticated solutions. In enterprise business systems, for example, Microsoft offers Modified Rapid Replacement as an alternative.
The new Web site provides an overview of the Modified Rapid Replacement strategy, which some customers may find appropriate to help them reach the 21st century. The strategy can be employed as limitations of time and resources force organizations to make difficult decisions regarding the repair and replacement of noncompliant systems. The Modified Rapid Replacement strategy recognizes that one-to-one feature or functionality replacement may no longer be viable for some organizations due to time restrictions. An organization should have the option to replace only the core functionality that is at risk in connection with the year 2000. Microsoft’s technologies, services and industry partners can help implement this strategy.
Microsoft also advocates that all organizations take an end-to-end view of their environment. End-to-end means understanding how information enters, is used and leaves an environment. It requires an assessment of all of the physical, software and business process components. Microsoft has identified a series of steps that customers should take as part of their end-to-end review:
Take inventory of and analyze all systems, including immediate testing of all systems to determine compliance.
Fix or replace hardware, firmware or embedded systems where necessary, and fix or replace software as necessary. Options include fixing code, rehosting code on the same platform (rehosting on a new platform may be required), using packaged, off-the-shelf applications wherever possible, ignoring purely cosmetic problems, and outsourcing the business function to alleviate the pressure on internal resources.
Retire systems where fixes or replacements cannot be finished because of lack of time and resources.
Implement year 2000-aware business processes where possible. Examine the supply chain to understand how this problem affects business partners and customers. Plan for the contingencies of failure and success as they apply to the year 2000.
To address year 2000 concerns, Microsoft also suggests companies take nontechnical steps such as starting to incorporate four-digit years in spreadsheets, databases and other applications wherever possible. Furthermore, they should train IT staff and help-desk or customer support staff to recognize date-related problems and respond promptly.
Enterprise Partners Key Element of Solution
Amdahl Corp. and DMR Consulting Group Inc. announced an alliance with
Microsoft in February that includes a focus on providing year 2000 services for customers. Microsoft also works with other companies that offer year 2000 services, including Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Data General Corp., NCR Corp. and Tandem Computers Inc., a Compaq company.
“We have been working with our clients on the year 2000 problem since 1995,”
said Michael Poehner, president and CEO at DMR Consulting Group.
“DMR has the experience and expertise to assist clients on a strategy to assess, attack and resolve this problem. As part of this strategy, one of the options is to rehost applications onto the Microsoft Windows NT and BackOffice® platforms.”
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