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BKCMCR2K.RVW   980619

"Computer Crisis 2000", W. Michael Fletcher, 1998, 1-55180-138-8,
U$12.95/C$15.95
%A   W. Michael Fletcher feedback@highspin.com
%C   1481 Charlotte Road, North Vancouver, BC   V7J 1H1
%D   1998
%G   1-55180-138-8
%I   Self-Counsel Press
%O   U$12.95/C$15.95 604-986-3366 fax: 604-986-3947 selfcoun@pinc.com
%P   232 p.
%T   "Computer Crisis 2000"

The book jacket states that the author has thirty years of experience
in advising businesspeople how to deal with technology.  If so, then
he is, of course, part of the problem, since this problem is not one
that wasn't foreseen.  Indeed, in the preface he admits he came late
to the problem, and certainly a warning book now is just a tad behind
the times.  However, the book is aimed at small and medium sized
businesses.  This market has been neglected in other works on the
topic, and may still have room to fix the situation as far as it can
be dealt with internally, since their computing needs are presumably
less monolithic than those of the corporate giants.

Part one is a definition of the problem and how it may affect people
and businesses.  The explanation is split into the first two chapters
(the book chapters are very short).  Generally the exegesis is
reasonable, although not altogether convincing of the seriousness of
the situation, but it also contains some sections detailing accounting
functions that have only a minimal bearing on the issue.  A third
chapter lists some excuses for avoiding the work involved, but adds
nothing to the book.  Possible impacts get sidetracked into the
beginnings of an action plan, the action plan is disorganized, and the
section ends with a look at legalities that ends, for some reason,
with some thoughts on tax law.

Part two looks at large institutions.  The review of government says
what the author thinks they should be doing, but gives limited (and
likely incorrect) analysis of what the situation and prognosis
actually is.  Much the same applies to the chapter on infrastructure
and utilities.  (The optimistic view of the Internet in the event of a
communications failure is particularly naive.)  The overview of
finances simply looks at a bleak set of possible problems, most
without solution.

Planning and implementation is addressed in part three.  The initial
outline is quite good, stressing that the time for delay and cheap
solutions is past, but it may not be entirely convincing to managers
and business owners due to the weak opening in part one.  Personnel
and inventory get some detail, but the implementation itself is strung
over four chapters with questionable organization.

The final two parts contain two chapters looking at the possible
ancillary benefits of going through the year 2000 process, and a very
terse look at the international scene.  An appendix lists both print
and online resources.

As Fletcher notes in the preface, he could not put absolutely
everything into the book, and polishing and the inclusion of more
material would have delayed a project that is late enough as it is. 
The concentration on personal computers and shrink wrapped software is
valid given the target audience.  However, more detail on certain
implementation areas would have greatly improved the book.  As only
one example, getting commitments from suppliers is lacking in breadth
and range, and there should be contingency plans for the inevitable
failures in some part of the infrastructure.  This book is not
alarmist: if anything it does not paint the scene widely enough.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998   BKCMCR2K.RVW   980619