By John Lipsey
The US House of Representatives just passed HR 1232 – the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a bill to reform how the US government acquires and manages its IT assets. FITARA includes, among other things, a Software License Optimization provision calling for the government to implement software asset management (SAM) practices to eliminate wasted spend on software. If the bill moves on to passage in the Senate and is signed by President Obama, we estimate that the US federal government could save as much as $2 billion annually by minimizing spend on unused and underused software licenses, as well as non-compliant software use that can result in penalties for the federal government.
Flexera Software applauds the House of Representatives for moving forward on FITARA and recognizing the tremendous waste hidden within the approximately $8 billion the government spends annually on software. We know from experience that as much as 25% of the government’s software budget could be saved by implementing industry best-practices and technology around Software License Optimization. There is no need for this massive waste of taxpayer dollars to continue when the means to solve the problem are known and readily available to government agencies. We strongly encourage the US Senate to pass FITARA and President Obama to sign it into law.
Specifically, Section 301 of the FITARA bill calls for the government to eliminate software assets that are duplicative or overlapping, and defer the procurement of new software licenses until such time as agency needs exceed the number of existing and unused licenses. It requires a government-wide spending analysis to provide a detailed breakdown of how much is being spent for software products or services in order to support decisions for strategic sourcing under the federal strategic sourcing program managed by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
Tom Schatz, president of the government watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, is also a supporter of FITARA and the Software License Optimization Provision, saying:
“The federal government can learn from the private sector, which has led the way both in the adoption of new technology and use of analytical tools to improve the management of IT assets, including the procurement and utilization of software licenses. Section 301 of FITARA requires federal agencies to optimize their software licenses by understanding the software licensing requirements of their workforce prior to purchasing or renewing licenses, thus avoiding overpaying for software licenses they do not need or being subject to penalties for using more software licenses than they purchased.”
Section 301, which requires that federal agencies purchase only the software they need and use what they have, is sound procurement policy. We’ve seen the Department of the Navy’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) save millions of dollars simply by optimizing licensing and maintenance for a single software vendor. Imagine the savings that will occur when Software License Optimization is adopted government-wide. The bill’s co-sponsors, US Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), co-sponsors of the House bill, have shown great leadership in introducing FITARA and calling for the US Government to follow the same software asset management and license optimization best practices being adopted by private industry to eliminate waste in software spend.
To learn more about the business value of Software License Optimization, please read our white paper: Moving Up the Software License Optimization Maturity Curve to Drive Business Value