Featured Article from Software Licensing
IRS Gets Audited: Software Licenses a Huge Issue
It's not every day that we hear about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) getting audited, and it's also not every day that the IRS gets called on the carpet, either. But a recent audit of the IRS showed that it's got some very big problems...in terms of keeping up its software licenses.
The audit, conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, showed that the IRS did not have the proper software licensing available for fully 24 out of 27 different software products currently in use at the agency. The software was found on laptops and desktops alike, and served a variety of purposes.
Moreover, not only were most of the licenses found to be missing in action, but there were also other serious problems found within the agency's management of the software. First, the audit found that there was no accurate database established to keep track of software licenses, and there was also no policy in place—either on a local or an agency-wide level—relating to software license management. There were no tools in place to deploy licenses, which also would have been found to keep track of licenses about to expire, and neither was there an inventory of current licenses.
Although the IRS did have a database in place, the IRS Application Registration Database, to track licenses, there were issues inherent in the database itself. The audit noted that the Application Registration Database “cannot be confirmed as complete and accurate.” While the database is designed to test new software, it isn't always updated after initial testing, leading to the conclusion noted previously.
Further, the Inspector General around the audit, J. Russell George, issued a statement further summing up some of the IRS' issues in regard to software licensing, saying “Efficient and cost-effective management of the IRS' software assets is crucial to ensuring that information technology services continue to support the IRS' business operations. Our recommendations are intended to help the IRS provide efficient service to taxpayers.”
Recommendations as a result of the audit included the establishment of better policies around software licensing, as well as the addition of a software management tool and regular updating of the database. The IRS reportedly agreed to make these changes, and would likely start moving in that direction soon.
Mistakes can be made in any system created by human beings, and reacting to those mistakes with an eye toward improvement is always laudable. While some might choose to dun the IRS over its clear mistakes—especially in light of its reactions to taxpayers who make mistakes—it's always worth recognizing positive effort, and the IRS is clearly out to make just that kind of effort. Software licensing issues have been trouble for many companies in the past—it's easy to waste money buying too many licenses for a company's needs, or otherwise get hit with surprise charges when a true-up arrives—and it seems to be no different for the IRS.
Edited by Blaise McNamee
See For Yourself Why So Many Trust Flexera Software Solutions
Featured White Papers
Achieving Software Monetization Maturity
Application producers and device manufacturers are faced with many challenges as they try to grow revenue and streamline back-office processes. Challenges like penetrating new markets, defending against aggressive competitors, transit ioning to new licensing and pricing models...
Harbrick: Industry Leader Monetizing the Internet of Things for New Opportunities
Harbrick is an innovative technology company that is helping shape the future of driverless (autonomous) vehicles. Harbrick produces PolySync®– "the autonomy operating system" – a software platform made to help developers build, test, and deploy automated vehicle applications quickly...
The IDC MaturityScape: Subscription Business Model Management
This study is designed for suppliers of products or services that are sold via subscription business models, and provides a framework required for the effective management of subscription approaches...
Featured Press Release
New Flexera Software/IDC Report: The Internet of Things, Intelligent Devices and Software Monetization Are Propelling the Third Industrial Revolution
A new survey report, The Third Industrial Revolution: Intelligent Devices, Software, and the Internet of Things, prepared jointly by Flexera Software and IDC, provides unique insights into how the third industrial revolution sweeping the global economy is being fueled by device manufacturers...
Featured Success Stories
- Siemens Building Technologies: Streamlines Inventory and Reduces Cycle Times with Flexera Software FlexNet Producer Suite