Category Management

White House looks to save billions on software

Shutterstock image: software developer.

Software is getting the category management treatment from federal IT and procurement leaders. The White House is directing agencies to pick chief software managers, inventory their existing software licenses and look ahead to a more unified government approach to software acquisition.

Federal CIO Tony Scott and Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung have previously decried the billions spent annually on fragmented government software purchases, and on June 2 they released the anticipated official guidance aimed at curbing that waste.

"The new policy is another step forward in implementing the President's vision for a modern government, one that leverages private-sector best practices to achieve a federal government that is smarter, savvier and more effective in delivering for the American people," the pair wrote in a blog post describing the new policy.

The OMB memo contains several firm directions for the 24 CFO Act agencies to which it applies.

Within 45 days, agency leaders will need to select a software manager to report directly to the agency CIO. By Sept. 30, agencies will need to complete a baseline inventory of their software licenses and spending, and by the end of November will need to start reporting to OMB on the cost savings flowing from better software procurement practices.

The software category management push also comes with a call for agencies to share pricing information and eschew contracts containing gag clauses.

Agencies will also need to follow the lead of the Enterprise Software Category Team (ESCT), a joint production of the Defense Department, OMB and the General Services Administration.

In the coming months, the ESCT will be posting new government-wide agreements and model service agreements, including service-level agreements  and software-as-a-service best practices, on GSA's Acquisition Gateway.

Scott and Rung noted that the guidance applies strictly to commercial and commercial-off-the-shelf software, not custom of newly developed software.

This latest category management push comes after similar guidance covering the acquisition of mobile devices and services and desktop and laptop computers.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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