The Dollars Take Care of Themselves

by Dave Schuler on May 27, 2014

There’s a great article at Fiscal Times on how the federal government’s sloppy accounting for its software inventory costs hundreds of millions, even billions:

Two dozen major government agencies have failed to put in place the kind of systems needed to manage the hundreds of millions of dollars in software that they purchase and license each year, according to the Government Accountability Office. The fact that federal agencies are bad at monitoring their software use isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive, the GAO found. One agency that managed to consolidate its licensing agreements in 2012 saved approximately $181 million, even though the GAO determined the process it used to do so was ad hoc.

On the whole, the GAO said in a letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), the head of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, “Federal agencies are not adequately managing their software licenses because they generally do not follow leading practices in this area.” The agency identified five best practices that major companies follow to monitor their software contracts: centralized management, established software license inventory, tracking and maintaining inventory, analyzing software license data, and providing sufficient training.

There’s an app for that.

Good management AKA prudent stewardship is an attitude not a task. Getting control over software licenses need not require a multi-million dollar system for doing it although I’m sure they could turn it into something that did. This is something that’s well within the president’s discretion but Congressional support would be welcome, too. Not that they have a mind to.

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