The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) addresses the issue of government over spend on software licenses, as well as other IT management challenges, by guiding federal agencies to buy and manage software more efficiently. The act brings together improvements in the responsibilities of both government and agencies. At the government level, purchasing and usage strategies are necessary such as increasing the number of government-wide purchasing agreements and improving software license management practices through IT asset discovery tools and business software. As for the agencies, moving towards more centralized software asset management will help them to optimize software license use, as well as maximize the software management solutions available to them.
Why is FITARA important? The US Office of Management and Budget state that the Federal Government spends more than $6 billion on software through more than 42,000 transactions. That’s a significant amount of government funds, much of which could be saved if agencies improved their buying processes and didn’t lack the centralized authority needed to properly manage software assets and licenses.
Federal agencies are given the following suggestions in order to improve their software asset management practices:
- Appoint a software manager to lead the efforts for best practice software asset management and centralize strategic processes.
- Maintain a full inventory of purchased, deployed and cloud software licenses, to ensure that they are always optimally tracked.
- Utilize a commercially available software asset or license optimization tool to properly maintain software inventory as well as automate crucial processes.
The integration of these government and agency efforts aims to improve license management practices and integrate this with government license offerings through FITARA.
How does FITARA compare to the MEGABYTE Act? The latter provides very specific internal guidelines directed at agencies and their handling of licenses and software costs. For instance, the Act requires that agencies specify clear roles and centralized authority for managing software license agreements, continuously analyze software usage to prevent wasted budget, and account for the software lifecycle phases in managing their licenses. These suggestions provide a solid complement to those of FITARA, as they are more concrete examples of what should happen internally in order to achieve the goals of FITARA. The two are closely linked, and they both come down a solid bottom line: software licenses must be carefully monitored and managed, with the help of a software asset management tool, in order to reduce the increasingly large portion of the government’s wasted annual budget.
It would be extremely difficult for any organisation to achieve these goals without an effective software asset management tool. A system like Vizor assists organisations in tracking software license inventory, reduces wasted expenditure and enables compliance. Vizor centralizes SAM processes including purchase and maintenance contract management, asset discovery, normalization and optimization.
To learn more about the MEGABYTE Act and its implications, click here.