Are You Ready for Y2K7

By Daniel R. Matlis

Remember Y2K?  Well, the world didn’t end, companies spent large budgets in Y2K remediation projects, and computer systems continued to function. 

Just when the memories of Y2K begin to fade, along came the government and instituted Y2K7.

What is Y2K7?

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included a provision that extends standard daylight time (DST) from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November (currently it runs from April to October).  The change goes into effect March 11, 2007, and will be implemented across the United States except for Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

Y2K7 will impact automated and computerized systems utilizing functions including:  

  • Calendar and scheduling
  • Date and time calculations (current and historical) 
  • Transaction logs (Coordinated Universal Time vs. Local Time) 
  • Computer generated audit trails

Most enterprise application vendors are providing patches, hot fixes or service packs to address issues resulting from DST change.

Addressing Y2K7 becomes more complex when dealing with departmental, standalone and customized or homegrown applications. Real-time systems, like manufacturing automation and bench-top equipment may require more substantial efforts to address the DST change. In some cases, systems may need to be manually updated, while in others, the application may rely on the date and time from the underlying system that it resides on.

But wait, don’t start downloading patches yet. Given the broad range of technology in use in Life-Science companies today, and the level of integration between them, it is imperative to begin the process by conducting an assessment.  This assessment should identify whether systems use date and time functionality for business or compliance activities (remember, your robot does not care what time it is, it’ll keep working as long as you maintain it properly).  Based on the results of this assessment, firms should determine what actions should be taken to mitigate the affects of DST 2K7.

The biggest issue with Y2K7 is the lack of broad awareness of its impact on computerized systems. As a result, many companies have not developed or implemented action plans to address the upcoming DST change in their computerized systems.

It would be interesting see the number of date/time related helpdesk calls on March 12th. Is anyone willing to share their experience?

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