State reports virtually no Y2K related glitches
Depending how you look at it, the state’s efforts to prevent a Y2K computer disaster were either a huge success or the problem was blown out of proportion in the first place.
“So far so good on all systems,” Department of Information Technology Director Marlene Lockard said Monday morning after getting almost no reports of problems as state agencies fired up their computers after the New Year’s weekend.
She said she was “very very pleased” with the results of more than two years’ effort by her department and state agencies to make sure nothing ugly happened when the year turned to “00.”
Kim Evans at the Department of Motor Vehicles said there were no problems there, either.
“You always plan for the worst and hope for the best and we’ve been working on this for two years,” said Director of Administration Perry Comeaux. “It looks like all the planning and work we did paid off.”
But Comeaux and Lockard said realistically there is no way to know if the state went overboard.
“We’ll never know if we spent too much money on it,” said Comeaux, who is also budget director. “But I’d rather err on the side of caution because we provide some pretty vital services and you can’t take a chance with some of that stuff.”
Lockard said the actual Y2K budget was about $6 million – “and we’re going to be pretty close to that.” She said many millions more have been spent on computers over the past couple of legislative sessions and that a lot of those new systems and upgrades needed for other reasons helped eliminate or reduce Y2K problems, but that it’s not possible to figure out exactly how much of the total cost to attribute to the year 2000 problem.
Both said the Y2K scare prompted the state to move more quickly to replace old desktops and mainframes in some cases. New systems installed in the past few years include the controversial Genesis system at DMV and NOMADS system at welfare, the Taxation Department system, the Integrated Financial System that will eventually handle accounting, personnel, purchasing and payroll for most state agencies and new systems at the Department of Transportation.
Lockard said nearly every PC in the state has been replaced in the past four years.
Comeaux said that money may have been spent earlier than anticipated in some cases but it wasn’t wasted.
“If everybody hadn’t yelled and screamed and brought attention to it, maybe the work wouldn’t have gotten done,” said Comeaux. “You can bet there’d have been people yelling today if we didn’t spend the money and there were problems.”