I found the recent DST change here in North America and interesting exercise in advanced planning on behalf of IT departments and IT vendors. How many of you received notices about the DST change and steps you needed to take with regards to your IT infrastructure only a week or two before the change? I’m referring to both your companies IT department as well as your IT vendors (if you don’t think you have any IT vendors as an individual, look at the name printed on the front of your cell phone). More importantly, why did we need to have receive notices about it at all?
This past Monday, my day was busier than usual due to the fact that my calendar was more than slightly screwed up. The early change to Daylight Savings Time (DST) played havoc with my calendar (MS Outlook), even after I applied the so call patch from Microsoft. I had calendar events that were off by an hour and kept receiving unneeded meeting updates from others that I work with. One may wonder if on-demand users were safe from the DST debacle? Unfortunately, the answer is no. I noticed on Monday evening that Google’s Calendar application had the dates wrong too (a meeting scheduled for 8 was showing up at 9). At least all that affected me was my calendar applications.
The US Government pass the Energy Policy Act of 2005 back on July 29th, 2005; this is the act that changed when DST starts and stops. What I find surprising is that I didn’t see any notice about how to update my IT equipment (e.g., home computer, palm pilot) from vendors until only a few weeks ago. I saw home grown notices from Palm users about how to manually update my Treo, but didn’t see anything from Palm until a few days before the DST change. This lag from IT vendors then created a lag from IT departments to their users.
The end result appears to be a breakdown of IT that had wider impact than Y2K. Granted, this appeared to be a slight breakdown and (as far as I know) nothing seriously broke other than calendars. However, I see this as a challenge to IT vendors and IT Managers to focus on improving their advanced planning tactics. There is no reason for the delays we saw with how the DST situation was handled. To me, this was just a slight annoyance. In my opinion, technology vendors and managers need to start focusing on eliminating even these slight annoyances.