DISA gains safety net for $1B worth of contracts

Facing further possible cuts and consolidations of its computing facilities and workforce the Defense Information Systems Agency is using enterprise software licenses to help it maintain its software management environment.

Enterprise licenses allow organizations to handle the distribution and maintenance of software licenses at a central site rather than having individual offices or facilities manage their own.

Such agreements not only give organizations more management flexibility but often involve potentially significant volume discounts.

That is just what DISA had in mind earlier this summer when it consolidated about another half-dozen licensing arrangements for executive software at its Defense Department megacenters and agency sites bringing the total number of such contracts to 29 worth as much as $1 billion over five years.

"This program consolidates existing software maintenance for the vast majority of the software existing at DISA-managed facilities " a DISA spokesman said in a statement. The agency expects to "achieve savings for both the Defense megacenters and its customers " the spokesman said.

DISA began the process of converting its software licensing arrangements in January 1995. The program covers most of the critical software that information resources management shops use to manage their computing infrastructure including network and systems management data management communications and security.

DISA's enterprise licensing program is driven as much by a need for management flexibility as it is by simple cost savings.

Over the past several years DISA has steadily consolidated its data center operations from more than 100 facilities to 16 and further consolidation - reducing the number to six - is possible DOD said.

In addition DISA like every other DOD organization may be affected by base closings around the world.Enterprise licensing "supports continuity of operations" in the face of these changes "by retaining the current executive software operating environment " DISA said in announcing its latest licenses.

Under the terms of its contracts DISA has the ability to add lease or maintenance coverage as product inventory grows at a given facility either as a result of consolidations in which a megacenter takes on the user base of another facility or through other procurement actions.

DISA establishes enterprise licensing arrangements by taking inventory of its existing licenses at each megacenter which then is compared with an inventory from the software vendor. Once certified DISA gets the approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense then submits an acquisition package to the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office. The contracts are managed by DISA's Logistics Directorate the agency said.

The present estimate for obligations under the 29 five-year contracts is $629 million DISA said but it could run as high as $1 billion. While declining to estimate the potential cost savings from the new licensing arrangements DISA said it expects to "achieve a substantial cost savings over the status quo."

The vendors currently under contract include BMC Software Boole & Babbage Candle Lucent Technologies New Dimension Software and Oracle.

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