Migration Shows IRS Has Personality

Administrators,like the rest of us, believe their tax returns go to faceless bureaucrats atthe Internal Revenue Service. But a recent migration proves that IRS employeeshave personality.

Well, atleast their computers do.

The IRS recently migrated to Windows NT 4.0 to standardizeand upgrade equipment across the government agency. The IRS selectedPersonality Tranxport from Tranxition to smooth user transition to the new equipment.Personality Tranxport preserves a desktop’s “personality” -- its applicationand desktop customizations.

With thehype surrounding Windows 2000, why is the IRS making the move to the olderWindows NT 4.0? “We’re preparing to migrate to Windows 2000,” says Tom Hoffman, director of end user support at the IRS. Hoffman is responsible for planningand overseeing the migration for all IRS departments and branch offices.

Because aWindows 2000 migration is a complicated task that makes significant demands ofmachines, the IRS chose to upgrade and standardize all desktops first. WindowsNT 4.0 is the stepping stone for machines running Windows 98, 95, or 3.1.Getting all the machines to run the same operating systems was a major task initself. Windows NT had been deployed in many of the IRS offices, primarily asfile and print servers. “We’ve been running 4.0 for some time,” Hoffman says.

Before themigration, desktops were managed by IRS offices on a department-by-departmentbasis. There were discrepancies between departments in regard to technology andage of the equipment. Another goal of the migration was to establish a standarddesktop platform across all IRS offices.

Windows NTalso is essential for goals tangent to the migration, such as universalInternet access for all employees and messaging infrastructure. In addition,Hoffman believes NT offers better security features than DOS-based Windows.“One of our responsibilities is protecting taxpayer data,” he says.

Throughoutthis standardization effort, individualization was a major hurdle Hoffman facedin the project. IRS employees have a fair amount of latitude in regard to theapplications and customizations they can put on their desktops. Employees oftenhave unique needs for their computer and each end user machine is configured indifferent ways, including macros, applications, and stored files.

It wasessential to get the end users back to work as soon as possible after themigration. For many users, having an unfamiliar machine, one lacking theapplications and files they need, would impede productivity. Hoffman turned toTranxition’s Personality Tranxport to replicate the settings of the oldmachines on the new NT 4.0 boxes. “We look to products that match our desktopmission and our desktop philosophy,” he says.

PersonalityTranxport analyzes the settings and data on the machine and creates whatTranxition calls a “personality,” which can be transferred to a new machine.Commonly used applications are noted and linked in the personality, thendownloaded and installed after the migration, making the size of thepersonalities manageable.

Hoffmanexpects to use Personality Tranxport after the migration is complete. “We cyclemachines through the organization, we’ll use Tranxition to move machinesbetween users,” he says. When some users' machines are upgraded to newmachines, other users will get the older machines, with their personalitiesintact.


InternalRevenue Service, Washington, www.irs.treas.gov
Tranxition Corp., Beaverton, Ore., www

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