SUMMARY: Y2K compliance - how to inform users

Subject: SUMMARY: Y2K compliance - how to inform users
From: "Burns, Nancy" <nburns -at- BREAULT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 10:03:44 -0700

I want to thank the approximately 12 individuals who answered my recent
request for ideas on informing users of Y2K compliance for our software
product. Here are excerpts from their informative and timely responses, in
the order I received them.
Nancy Burns
nburns -at- breault -dot- com

---------------
If your product is 100% compliant, I would put it on the front of the
package in large, bold, high contrast letters with one of those zig-zaggity
circles around it.
-John Gilger

--------------
...we put a Y2K statement in an appendix devoted to product specifications,
and categorize it under "Compliance" statements. There is a standard Y2K
statement that you can use. We have modified it to state exactly how we
meet Y2K.
-Helen Cygnarowicz

-------------
Several Y2K-related URLs were posted to TECHWR-L by Guy A. McDonald.

-------------
...all your technical staff (researchers giving papers at conferences,
help desk staff, etc.) take every opportunity to promote compliance.
However, the solution really depends on the problem you're trying to
solve...: are you simply boasting that your
product is truly compliant, or are you trying to help users cope with
the noncompliance of current or former versions? If the latter, then
warning people becomes even more important because it may be the only
thing that saves you from lawsuits as of January 2000. ...don't just warn
them:
provide extensive advice on how they can
solve their own problems, and a really strong warning that failure to
do so will lead to a disaster that isn't your fault.
-Geoff Hart

-----------------------
Is there not a logo of some official body that adjudges Y2K compliance that
you could put on all your external communications; manuals, letters,
brochures, etc? We have such a thing here in South Africa...
-Jon Beckton
[Jon - I'm not aware of such a logo in the U.S.]

----------------------
We mention it in our various documents where it makes sense
(for example, when talking about a component of the software that
deals with dates).
-Venessa Andrews

------------------------
...The bottom line on this is that there is no set standard for what
"compliant"
means. Therefore, you need to be very clear about what your product does and
how it deals with date information so users have all the information they
need concerning year 2000 issues....
Our approach has
been to create an area on our web site devoted to Y2K information about our
products (all of our products, even ones we no longer sell or support--they
have been updated to provide "compliant" versions)...
-Lydia Wong

-------------------------
if you have an up-front hunk of text that talks about all the fabulous
features of the product, you could stick in a blurb about y2k.
-Dan Roberts

------------------------
My company has a Year 2K kit consisting of 4 documents plus Unix scripts. A
covering letter has also been produced and the process is for the letter
plus the Year 2K kit to be handed to the customers by our regional
managers...
-Alan Sismey

-----------------------
I am involved with a Fortune 200's Y2K operation and we prefer to have
signed letters stating a product is Y2K compliant/ready (compliant
means Year 2000 and beyond; ready means the product was remediated to
50/49 standards or is likely to fail in 2038 (UNIX bomb) or 20?? (the
next MS bomb). ...The Web may NOT hold up legally; you should make letters
available (at
least upon request). Put Y2K compliance into your advertising, on
brochures, and on the product containers. A mention in the front of
the manual IS appropriate for the person down-stream who may be asked
"is * Y2K compliant?"
-Katav
[NB: I believe 50/49 means year 2050 or 2049]

-----------------------
...here's why my company has done:
1) Graphic on www home page. This graphic links directly
to a separate page that lists the various product groups.
Each product group has it's own page with more detail.

2) Letter to current customers (actually, to the chief person
at each customer site). This letter stated our corporate
position on Y2K, gave an overview of our readiness, and
offered phone #s, email addrs, etc. for more details.

3) Email to a couple listservs that discuss our products.
These emails were short, and basically condensed the
letter above, and pointed to the web site.

4) Provided additional details in the technical documentation.

One thing to remember, and this is important: your legal
department *will* have VERY strong opinions about what
you can and cannot say in these Y2K communications.

For example, you cannot say that you are Y2K "compliant"
unless you have passed some standardized testing.
It's better to use "ready" or the like -- ask your legal advisors.
-Martin Anderson

-------------------------
...I worked on Y2K stuff for a large corporation at
the beginning of the year and their position was to provide almost no
information regarding their compliance for legal reasons. The line of
thinking
seems to be that if I say my product is Y2K compliant and you act on that
assumption and it all blows up in your face, then I've opened myself up for
you
to sue me for damages.

Make sure the company attorneys are comfortable with anything you have to
say
on this point.
-Mike Starr

[END COMMENTS]

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