Software license management for federal agencies

Cost, compliance, and complexity in software asset management

​Federal agencies spend billions per year on software. Gain insights into how they can maximize the value of this expense and avoid needless waste.

Cost savings under scrutiny

As a result of recent legislation, as well as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines related to software asset management (SAM), many agencies have been scrutinized for some of the largest unrealized cost-savings opportunities. These cost-savings opportunities can be found in how agencies forecast, procure, install, maintain, monitor, track, decommission, and reuse software licenses and other information technology (IT) assets.

Agencies have taken steps toward implementing people, processes, and technology to attain compliance with the legislation. Those agencies that implement a broader SAM program may also realize the added benefits of optimizing cost savings and gaining greater efficiencies.

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Current SAM legislation

There are many pressures on agencies to save costs, especially in the area of IT and software. Within this area, three specific mandates have been announced:

  • The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which directs agencies to become more prescriptive in managing software assets.
  • The Making Electronic Government Accountable by Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act (MEGABYTE) specifies that chief information officers of federal agencies must implement policies to better govern and manage the use, procurement, and contracting of software licenses.
  • OMB requirements:
    • July 18, 2016—Agencies must name a software license manager and supporting team.
    • September 30, 2016—Agencies were required to compile a baseline inventory of the commercial off-the-shelf software purchased, deployed, and in use.
    • As of August 31, 2016—On a quarterly basis, OMB will analyze all cost savings and avoidance attributable to improved SAM.
    • Starting in November 2016—Agencies must report software license savings and cost avoidance to OMB on a quarterly basis.

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Compliance challenges

Fundamentally, software is complex. This complexity makes it harder to manage a centralized view, common language and understanding, standard tool set, and an overall comprehensive program. In some cases, agencies may not even be in control or aware of software installed in their environment.

Without a government-wide SAM strategy in place, agencies are trying to solve the asset management problem in their respective organizations. But by approaching the problem with lessons learned from well-governed enterprises in the commercial market, agencies can increase their chance of success in meeting mandates, increasing efficiencies, and better serving their constituencies.

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Benefits of a strategic SAM program

Waste can be quickly isolated and costs can be significantly reduced with a more strategic view of software asset deployment. A strategic view can help lead to:

  • Right-sizing software maintenance
  • Purchase reduction through reuse
  • Negotiated hard dollar savings
  • Productivity gains

Furthermore, agencies will be in a better position to quickly respond to audits, decrease cyber security risk with greater IT environment insight and oversight, and identify software with duplicate functionality to shrink the number of titles in the software estate.

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Learn more

Without the appropriate people, processes, and technology in place for SAM, agencies may be hard-pressed to understand their software use and reduce their overall spend. By applying leading practices such as defining roles and responsibilities, issuing communication about the SAM program, and using tooling options to understand and manage software, agencies can take a step toward optimizing their IT costs and risk.

To learn more, please visit Software Asset Management Services.

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