Newsletter 2000-01       Go Back
January 10, 2000
Well, the Y2K crisis turned out to be a dud, just like virtually every other crisis of the last 30 years. As far as the POWER PLUS system is concerned, users have reported and we have fixed 9 new Y2K problems so far this year. As of this time, there should be no known outstanding Y2K bugs. There probably will be a few more pop up, and we will address those promptly.
Monday January 3rd was a little hectic support-wise. Due to the combination of the new Y2K problems; some accounts missing a few of the previously issued Y2K patches; and the fact that it was the first day back at work after a long weekend, call volume was about four times normal on Monday. But it was back to normal levels by Thursday. We apologize for any delays you may have experienced on Monday or Tuesday. We really tried to scramble to get the problems addressed as quickly as possible, and hopefully, this worked out for everybody.
Attached is a recap of the new Y2K fixes issued this year.
PHONE SUPPORT STATISTICS FOR 1999
Total support calls (including faxes and e-mails) came to 1697, down 4% from 1998. The average initial response time was 17 minutes, compared to 14 minutes in 1998.
Broken down by functional area, the percentage of calls was as follows:
It was exactly twenty years ago that the forerunner to PSI, Executive Information Management (EIM) started. The core of today's package was written over the subsequent five years, though there have been hundreds of enhancements and several new modules subsequently developed. One thing we did right was use structured programming principles, including the use of copy libraries. Having the date routines and pricing logic in copy libraries has, for example, made the Y2K conversion much easier. Today's buzzword for the copy library approach is "object programming".
It seems hard to believe, but when we started out, there were no fax machines, much less e-mail (there probably were a few fax machines around, but none of our customers had them). Dial-up modems were around, but hadn't gained much acceptance yet. So, most everything was done on site. If a customer had an emergency, we'd have to drive about 15 miles to the nearest Federal Express drop-off in order to overnight a tape. It's sure a good thing the year 2000 didn't come 15-20 years ago. We'd still be working on last Monday's problems!
Today, most of our users keep detailed history of billed orders, PO receipts, A/P history, etc. for two years or more. That would have been unthinkable at our first couple of sites: Electric Supply Corp (now part of Crescent) in Chicago and All-Phase Electric (now mostly part of CED) in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Back then, the common disk on what was then the equivalent of an A-series was a 207 disk. These held about 200MB and cost about $30,000. On the very latest models of Clear/Path's, using the very latest disk styles, you can get 9GB for about $1,000. So, the cost per megabyte went from about $150 down to 11 cents. And, if a user were to have a lot of branches or wanted to keep a bunch of history, the primary backup device was open-reel tape. Our larger sites would need a whole box of these big old types to back up. Ah, the good old days!
In any case, it's been an interesting and challenging twenty years. It seems like the system has worked out pretty well for our clients - most of whom have been on it ten years or more. The experiences of our former two users who switched to something else last year attests to that. We plan on continuing to provide solid support and new features well into the next century, which by now, everyone should realize doesn't really start until next year.