What's really going to happen?

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This part of the Pocket Guide isn't looking at software. Instead, it tries to suggest what may happen if we look beyond the relatively straightforward IT problem to the consequences for business and for society as a whole.

No-one knows what will actually happen as an increasing number of computer systems pass their date horizons. Some commentators suggest that the whole problem has been grossly exaggerated in order to create lucrative work for expensive consultants. Others prophesy doom, and are stocking up with food, turning their financial resources into gold, and heading for their mountain retreats. We provide a few links on personal preparedness, but don't cover this in any detail.

Relatively little has been written about this; an exception is a number of papers by Capers Jones and others, which are available through, and listed on, the website of the Project Management Institute. A report from IDC Research assesses The Worldwide Financial Impact of the Y2K Problem. and estimates spending at US$122bn in 1995 through 2001 in the US itself, or 2.6% of total IT spending; $297bn worldwide is 2.9% of total spend. Clearly, much of this money (a) has been removed from other sectors of the economy and(b) will be recovered, eventually, through prices of end products.

There do seem to be some common themes emerging.

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