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From...
Computerworld

Help desks left out of Y2K loop

computer y2k
 ALSO:
   White House urges Senate not to withhold Y2K funds

   For more computing stories

  

April 16, 1999
Web posted at: 12:38 p.m. EDT (1638 GMT)

by Stacy Collett

(IDG) -- The road map to year 2000 compliance seems easy enough to follow: Find the problems, fix the problems, test the system, cope with glitches and recover. But most companies fail to include their help desk operations in planning for those "cope and recover" stages, according to market research firm Gartner Group Inc.

"Help desk people are responsible for implementation and maintenance. The piece that's been missing is the handoff from those that develop the changes to those who have to implement the change in a production environment," said Bill Keyworth, a Gartner analyst.

Keyworth said communication among departments and consolidation of help desk resources and information will bring help desk operations in sync with year 2000 projects.

Poor communication slowed help desk operations at Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich. The networking, client/server, database and application groups each would bring the company's system down at different times without warning for year 2000 repairs, Keyworth said. When users called to report problems, help desk staffers had to say they didn't know the cause. A new plan requires at least two weeks' notice to system users, via the Web, before anyone shuts down the system.

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"It lessens the number of unexpected outages to the 40,000 clients we have around the world and keeps them from calling unnecessarily," said Brett Grandjean, service desk program manager at Dow Chemical.

Companies should also consolidate year 2000-related information into one help desk, Keyworth said. For example, if a company is making changes to a lot of desktop configurations, information on each upgrade should be logged in to one database.

DHL Worldwide Express Inc. in Redwood Shores, Calif., recently tested and upgraded 5,500 help desk systems that run its online shipping business.

"To a certain degree we already had some information [gathered], but we've consolidated the rest of [the] appropriate information because of Y2K," said Mike Comstock, DHL's vice president for electronic commerce and planning. The centralized information will allow DHL to quickly track and fix glitches on its equipment.



SPECIAL SECTION:
Looking at the Y2K Bug

MESSAGE BOARD:
Year 2000 bug

RELATED STORIES:
Test your systems for Y2K
April 6, 1999
Important U.S. computer systems likely to miss Y2K deadline
March 31, 1999
Open source guru blames proprietary software for Y2K woes
March 11, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Gartner study warns most vendor software not OK for Y2K
(Computerworld)
Y2K a tough climb for Oracle ERP users
(Computerworld)
Test your systems for Y2K
(PC World Online)
Should users have to shell out money for Y2K upgrades?
(InfoWorld Electric)
Microsoft to release Y2K patch for Windows 95
(InfoWorld Electric)

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RELATED SITES:
Year 2000 Information Center
GartnerGroup
The Dow Chemical Company
DHL Worldwide Express - Corporate Homepage

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