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WASHINGTON -- Health care, agriculture, food processing and public entities stand the greatest chance of experiencing "mission critical" system failures because of the Year 2000 computer problem.
In contrast, insurance, banking, investment services, pharmaceuticals and computer manufacturing lead industries in dealing with the problem, with only 15% of the companies in the best-prepared group expected to experience a mission-critical system failure, Lou Marcoccio, research director of GartnerGroup, a Stamford, Conn.-based consultant, told members of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem last week.
Fully 66% of the companies in the least-prepared group are expected to experience a mission-critical system failure. GartnerGroup defines "mission critical" as any "business dependency" that, if it failed, would result in a shutdown of business, production or product delivery operations; health hazard to individuals; considerable revenue loss; significant litigation expense or loss; or significant loss of customers or revenue.
GartnerGroup also estimated the cost of recovering from a single failure after it occurs could range from $20,000 to $3.5 million.
To help meet the challenges of the Year 2000 problem, the GartnerGroup recommended that, among other things, the Senate require the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct random audits of publicly held companies as part of Year 2000 disclosure and reporting requirements; charge one existing federal agency with managing and coordinating efforts to deal with the global impact of the problem on the United States; and launch a nationwide program to coordinate readiness efforts with state and local governments.