Primeon delivers Year 2000 audit services

While many vendors have developed tools to help agencies fix their Year 2000 computer problems, one company now offers a service designed to help agencies measure the success of those fixes before heading into full-scale testing.

Primeon Inc., a Burlington, Mass., solutions provider, has put together a Year 2000 pre- audit service that company officials say can detect within 10 days the quality of remediation in any application of up to 1 million lines of code.

The Primeon Year 2000 audit service is designed to analyze remediated code and identify remaining problems within mission-critical systems while they are still relatively inexpensive to fix - before testing begins - said Steve Karlson, director of marketing at Primeon.

Unlike most Year 2000 solutions that rely on software maintenance or language-conversion tools to comb through lines of codes, Primeon's audit service uses tools and the manual labor of highly skilled practitioners, Karlson said. More than half of Primeon staff members have advanced degrees in computer science and engineering and graduated in the top 1 percent of their class, the company said.

"Primeon is saying...that we can put you on the comfort level or save you an awful lot of money,'' Karlson said. "We'll take 10 days to do the audit report. That's how quickly we can turn it around.''

Gordon King, director of government markets at Primeon, said his company is targeting agencies that have completed remediating their mission-critical systems for Year 2000 and are beginning to test the systems.

Primeon is trying to secure contracts with the Army and the National Institutes of Health, King said. The company is partnering with ISI Professional Services to offer the audit service. "We're finding a lot of interest in our service because agencies are running out of time to do testing," King said.

ISI is a minority firm that provides access for Primeon to a comprehensive Government Service Administration schedule that includes Year 2000 audit and remediation packaged services.

ISI also has recently signed a $75 million blanket purchase agreement with the Navy, which includes Year 2000 services, King said.

Andy Bochman, senior analyst at Aberdeen Group, said Primeon's audit service will be a good confidence booster for agencies that have not started testing, and it has the potential to save customers time and money.

"Pre-test Year 2000 audits have become an essential element in the Y2K compliance process, dramatically reducing testing time and costs. But such services have not been available for distributed or client/server systems,'' Boch-man said.

"Primeon's combination of powerful parsing tools and highly experienced practitioners gives it a unique ability to quickly and accurately identify Y2K problems that persist after initial remediation,'' he said.

Primeon has corporate customers in the financial services, insurance and consumer products industries, which depend on large, complex computer systems. Major customers include Dow Jones & Co. Inc., Chase Manhattan Corp., PaineWebber Inc. and Revlon Consumer Products Corp.

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