Tax agency selects a standard messaging system

The IRS last week chose Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 and Outlook 98 as its standard
messaging products and awarded a $4.3 million installation contract to Telos Corp.


The tax agency selected Exchange and Outlook because they best matched its requirements
and offered the most value, IRS chief information officer Paul Cosgrave said.


Industry sources said the IRS also had considered Lotus Development Corp. mail products
bid by Vanstar Government Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., and Netscape Communications Corp.
products bid by Logicon Inc. of Torrance, Calif.


Microsoft spokesman Keith Hodson said the IRS is one of three large federal
organizations that recently standardized on Exchange.


The Defense Finance and Accounting Service bought 22,500 client access licenses for
Exchange from Unisys Corp., DFAS spokeswoman Kathy Ferguson said.


Hodson also said the Air Force Materiel Command bought 65,000 licenses of Microsoft
Windows NT 4.0 and Exchange for its migration from Lotus cc:Mail, Novell Inc. GroupWise
and Banyan Systems Inc. BeyondMail. Command spokesman Maj. Harry Edwards confirmed
the move to NT 4.0 and Exchange.


The IRS’ choice of Exchange, following large-scale deployments of the messaging
software in the Air Force and Veterans Affairs Department, could signal greater acceptance
by civilian agencies.


No agencies made large purchases from Netscape at the fiscal year’s end, although
some are testing products for electronic commerce and workflow, said Sandy Levine, a
Netscape spokeswoman.


Neither Lotus nor Novell responded to queries about fiscal year-end purchases by
deadline.


The IRS will install the year 2000-ready messaging software on servers running
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 over the next 12 months, replacing 11 different e-mail products
now in use. The switch will improve internal communication and taxpayer service, IRS
commissioner Charles O. Rossotti said in a statement.


Cosgrave said Rossotti “has asked me to move the IRS toward a much more
standardized approach to delivering information technology services. The decision to roll
out a standard e-mail package is just one of the steps we are taking.”


The IRS also will buy a third-party viewing utility through the contract, which
includes some services, said Ralph Buona, vice president of business development for Telos
of Ashburn, Va. 

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