Feds get insider s view of Windows Vista

Agencies are avoiding the logistical and managerial headaches of converting all of their computers to a new OS by working with Microsoft to adopt their new Windows Vista operating system early.

At a press conference this morning, representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Securities and Exchange Commission and Army were a part of a panel to discuss their acceptance into Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program (TAP). Involvement in TAP gives agencies and customers direct insight into the developments of the beta software, education on how features might be employed in the work environment and the ability to give feedback to the development team.

Federal officials said that staying on top of Vista developments allow them better insight into not only how the operating system works, but how best to put it in place at an enterprise level.

'The only way to stay ahead of the curve is [if] you have an insider understanding of what this product might do to benefit you or where the problems might lie,' said Richard Gordon, chief technology officer for the SEC. Business editions of Windows Vista will be released in November 2006, so the agencies in the adoption program will have a head start in

Gordon found that training for deployment was one of the major difficulties he had with introducing new technologies, particularly with the resistance he received from IT personnel. 'When new products are brought to the market, there's frequently an emotional response by the organization, [saying] 'this is bad, we can't entertain this,' he said. 'It's the IT team you have to drag to the finish line. You've got to train them.'

Policy is another change that can be difficult to implement for new technologies. Having prior insight into the features, benefits and weaknesses of a product could help shape the policy in implanting it. 'It takes the army forever to change policy,' said LTC CJ Wallington III, United States Army, director of chief innovation activity. 'Why don't we craft the policy now so that policy is delivered hand-in-hand when the new product comes out on the street?'

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