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Companies race the Y2K clock

In a what may serve as a warning to companies that think their Y2K preparations are done, many hardware and software companies scramble to make last-minute repairs to prepare for the millennium, a new report shows.

In a what may serve as a warning to companies that think their Y2K preparations are done, many hardware and software companies are still scrambling to make last-minute repairs to prepare for the millennium, according to a new report.

Infoliant, a Y2K tool provider, released its monthly report that indicates there were Y2K compliance status changes to 577 hardware and software products in August--the third-highest number of changes in one month since the company began tracking compliance data in 1997.

"Especially on the desktop, Y2K is not over until it's over," said Andy Bochman, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group. The findings in the report "indicate that even the best-prepared enterprises have some surprises waiting for them in their distributed systems."

Although Infoliant centers its business on helping firms become Y2K compliant, analysts said the report draws a necessary picture of what kind of Y2K work is being done to what types of products.

Although many companies have done all their Y2K work and want to freeze their environments according to earlier Y2K product compliance announcements, Bochman recommends that businesses stay on top of product status changes down to the wire.

"Ideally you would have thought you were ahead of the game and your competitor by doing your Y2K work. Now you find out, even if you did everything, you're still screwed. The message here is: Don't rest," said Bochman.

He pointed out that Infoliant's Delta Report indicates changes to product lines that can be good news as well as bad, meaning a vendor could be releasing either a Y2K alert or a new patch for product. Either way, it behooves companies to monitor vendor's reports on compliance.

Some of the key manufacturers and product lines reporting changes to their product lines in August included Y2K patches from Novell, Microsoft, Lotus, Compaq, and Computer Associates.

Infoliant's Compliance Tracker Delta Report publishes compliance status changes on major enterprise, network and desktop products.

The Year 2000 problem, also known as the millennium bug, stems from an old programming shortcut that used only the last two digits of the year. Many computers now must be modified, or they could mistake the year 2000 for the year 1900--potentially rendering them unable to function at all.