|October 2, 1998||Volume 6, Number 3|
Presidential task force and project team to address 'millennium bug' problems
Acknowledging that, to one degree or another, 'millennium bug' disruptions are inevitable on campus, the University has formulated a plan to address the problem.
It has struck a Year 2000 Presidential Task Force (TF) to gather relevant data and, with the help of a five-person Project Team, to determine priorities for problems to be addressed. Y2K issues will be regularly reported to the Board of Governors through its Audit Committee.*
Dr. Tony Whitworth is chairing - with Dr. Bob Kavanagh vice-chairing - the TF, whose 21-month budget (i.e., to June 30, 2000) has tentatively been set at $260,000, 75% of which is to cover the time load of those assigned to the Y2K problem. One of the TF's first tasks is to determine what additional resources, if any, will be required to avoid serious Y2K problems.
Bob Eaton, head of Applications and Data Management, Computing Services, is one of the Team members and has been appointed as full-time Year 2000 project manager, effective immediately.
As coordinator of all the Year 2000-related efforts on campus, Eaton will plan timelines, oversee the communication of relevant information, compile and present pertinent data to the TF, communicate with external agencies, prepare reports, etc.
The other members of the Project Team are as follows:
"The chief goal is to head off negative impacts the Y2K problem may present, so that we can avoid financial losses, interruptions to programs or services, health and safety risks, or operational inconvenience to our students, faculty, and staff."
The key problem, Kavanagh says, is relative:
"On one hand, we know that we'll have some Year 2000 problems that will need to be solved. On the other hand, we want to avoid turning this into a major 'make work' project and waste a lot of time addressing things that won't be serious or will simply go away in time."
He says the responses to a June 22, 1998, memo requesting information on Y2K problems on campus indicate eight areas:
Commenting on the situation facing the University campus with 15 months to zero-hour - midnight, January 1, 2000 - Kavanagh says the TF emphasizes that the time to address the Y2K problem is now.
"We urge all employees to consider their work areas immediately. Discovering problems later will be more costly than doing so now, when lower cost alternatives may be possible."
He notes, too, that the TF will not, cannot, solve all units' problems.
"The TF will assist where possible, but the greater onus is on the respective units to examine their equipment and processes for potential problems. They usually won't find serious problems. But if and when they do, it's such problems that should be brought to the attention of the Task Force."
The Project Team has been put in place to provide direct operational support to the Task Force. The Team will also assist in the sharing of information on common problems and solutions across campus.
Additionally, the TF has established the following e-mail address, to which members of the University may put questions or make comments or suggestions: Year2000@usask.ca
Finally, the Project Team will create and maintain a web site by which faculty and staff can keep current on this problem and find information on solutions to common problems.
For further information, visit the web site or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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