The Inland Revenue has built an infrastructure to provide its 55,000 employees with e-mail facilities, and announced that a system allowing the public to e-mail their self-assessment returns would be available next April. The internal e-mail facility forms part of the Revenue's Infrastructure 2000 project and has been supported by a single ICL system. While running on Windows NT and Microsoft Exchange software, it aims to reduce the cost of support maintenance of the Revenue's information systems, and will allow easy system expansion if departments are enlarged. Director of Infrastructure 2000 Derek Howard said the Revenue had taken a further step away from being a paper-driven organisation, but warned it now faced 'considerable business and cultural issues' in light of the change in working practice. Howard added 'considerably more' business changes would occur when the external facility is added. The Revenue is running a test project involving thousands of users in South Yorkshire to find the best solution to implement next year. The launch of the internal system represents Europe's largest and fastest roll-out of Microsoft Exchange, having taken under 12 months to implement. It is expected that another 11,500 users will join the system next year as staff from the Benefits Agency and others from the Contributions Agency merge with the Revenue. - Internet use is on the increase but companies still want personal contact when buying accountancy software, according to a recent survey. The report, by asset management specialists Catsoft International, found companies are increasingly using the Internet for information research and gathering.
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