Ray Richards is founder of Mindspan Consultants and a technology journalist hailing from Ottawa, Canada

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The Real Effect of Y2K

"While the actual Y2K calendar event itself was rather anti-climactic, the differences I've borne witness to since, in the way IT has been developed and deployed are myriad and profound.

I suppose on a surface level, IT staff and the executive alike are more keenly aware of system interdependencies and the significant effect of associated downtime on business continuity. While this has definitely lead to an increased interest in DRP (Disaster Recovery Planning ed.), I think it has additionally created a bit of a backlash among former proponents of mammoth, all-in-one ERP solutions such as SAP.

From a development perspective, it has forced software engineers to take a more considered approach as applies to planned obsolescence, especially with regard to embedded systems. To the end-user, a product becomes obsolete only when it fails to serve his immediate need – not when a programmer envisions a new feature set. This has begun to lead responsible firms to adopt "Gold Standard" development practices – abandoning the "we'll fix that in the next version" mentality so pervasive in years past.

On more of a ‘gut' level, I think the whole Y2K experience evoked collective introspection, leading to an examination of complacency with existing technology solutions and an evaluation of potential alternatives.

This has in large measure been responsible for the burgeoning interest in open-source development projects and the huge increase in the popularity of Linux.

All in all, after the dust had settled, I think the looming spectre of Y2K in '99 was just the kick in the pants the industry needed."

Ray Richards
Mindspan Consultants

I am uncertain if this was ever published in the Ottawa Citizen, though the commentary was requested by them, as frankly, I never checked. If it were indeed published therein however, it would have been in February of 2001.


This commentary was solicited by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper as a post Y2K event summation of what the resulting take-aways had been.

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