Recently formed Bridge Computing has forged an alliance with enterprise applications developer Merant to resell independent Y2K verification and validation (IV&V) testing for the large enterprise market.
As the window of opportunity for Y2K remediation services winds down, the two companies hope to capitalise on being one of the few players in the third-party verification space with the ability to test every line of an enterprise's COBOL and associated applications code.
Former heads of Hitachi Data Systems' (HDS) Y2K program, Bridge director Ross McLean and general manager Colin Stewart, claim that while most large corporations and financial institutions are just about to sign off on their Y2K projects, in order to prove due diligence an independent third-party assessment has to be carried out.
Placing an estimated $30-50 million price tag on the IV&V marketplace, Stewart said: "You won't find many major organisations out there providing IV&V services.
"The interesting thing about independent verification is the word 'independent'. When a company has been conducting a lot of the remediation work, they are then totally disqualified from auditing the work that they've done," said McLean.
With Bridge's team largely comprised of ex-HDS employees, McLean said Bridge is ideally placed to conduct IV&V testing because of the logic inherent in the software technology provided by Merant and the synergy between the two companies' existing customer bases. "It was really just the continuation of a well-established business relationship," he says.
Based on Merant's existing Micro Focus tool set, the Verify 2000 suite of products has grown out of the Y2K auditing and remediation solutions offered on a direct basis by Merant in the past. According to Bruce Nixon, Merant's managing director, Micro Focus signals "the next step or evolution in that development".
Of the nine IV&V sites Bridge and Merant are currently working on, Nixon says finding code that isn't Y2K com-pliant "is the norm rather than the exception".
"The question for enterprises is really what it's going to cost if they don't find the error," says Nixon, referring to the possible litigation time bomb - with no known legal precedents - presented by the date change problem.
"It's a business risk management issue - the cost of doing the IV&V exercise by comparison is minimal," he added.
Unlike some companies formed to provide Y2K solutions, Bridge has signalled its intention to stick around in the high-end corporate and financials market space. Again partnering with Merant, the company is set to announce a number of GST-compliant solutions based on a combined R&D effort, Stewart said.