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NYBOT saw Y2K coming before it became a public issue. The system administration staff began to prepare for Y2K as far back as 1997, and they had all of their internal applications totally compliant before 1999 began. In 1999, when their regulatory agency, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), sent all the forms and paperwork to NYBOT for Y2K certification, Pat told them that they were already done. It took a while to convince them, but once the CFTC believed that NYBOT was truly prepared, they asked for and received permission to use NYBOT as an example for their regulated organizations, to show them what to do, and how to do it.
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Just because NYBOT was ready, that didn t mean that all of their partners were. So, there was still plenty of work to do to make sure that systems were compatible, and there were still many tests, milestones, and deadlines to meet, but NYBOT was way ahead of the curve. Pat and Steve describe most of this effort as busy work for the staff, since they were so well prepared. Pat and Steve had nothing but good things to say about their staff. The systems management organization grew from 6 people in 1994 to over 60 at the end of 2001. They have kept very current on technology, and so have been able to implement new technology that has made their trading environment increasingly competitive. Besides Y2K preparation and Disaster Recovery, they were also early adopters of client-server technology, and are now (early 2002) implementing hand-held wireless devices to get customer information and orders closer to the traders in the pits. They raved about how well their staff has performed over the years in trying circumstances, and without the amounts of funding that they really wanted, and how despite that, the staff has allowed NYBOT to remain on the cutting edge of technology, and far ahead of competitive exchanges. One of the biggest internal problems with which Pat and Steve had to contend was the unwillingness of their customers, the traders, and other NYBOT members to come visit the Queens site so that they could see where their money was going, and what the recovery facilities looked like. They were unable to persuade traders to come in and do a weekend day of mock trading, nor to close down WTC for a day and do a disaster drill. Nobody would seriously consider it. They even went so far as to charter buses and cater a lunch for the traders. Logistical problems messed that day up, and so even that endeavor failed. The system administrative staff had spent many days in Queens, testing every aspect of the facility that they could. They had done mock trading, even in volume, and they knew that every system at the recovery site worked as advertised. Testing was done every quarter. But since the traders and users were unwilling to visit, there would still be logistical complications if they ever needed the site. Complete testing was just not possible without a greater degree of cooperation. Since Pat and Steve could not get the traders cooperation in solving the potential logistical problems, they needed the next best thing. In 1999, as part of Y2K preparation, they developed a comprehensive Member Disaster Recovery Packet. The packet, which was given to every member, user, and trader, contained directions to Long Island City, operations information, and a plan for allocating scarce trading floor space and telephones, and other scarce resources. The packet included key radio stations, web sites (the disaster recovery plan was on the staff intra-web site, and would failover to the Queens site transparently if necessary), home phone numbers, addresses, local restaurant and
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