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Act Puts Pressure on Federal Agencies to Comply with Software Licensing Rules

August 08, 2016




The arrival of the digital revolution gave us considerable flexibility and capability in both work and play. We can now integrate our smartphones with our corporate networks and work from anywhere. We can also use our personal phones as our corporate connections and still protect the network. Plus, we can use the same channels offered by our favorite brands to interact with government agencies.

With this level of flexibility there must also be accountability. That’s why President Obama signed the MEGABYTE Act of 2016 into law on July 29. This Act makes electronic government accountable, putting certain requirements on the federal CIO that includes attention to software licensing. The Act is important as it also ties to the Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act, ensuring the decisions made have a planned outcome. To that end, software licensing solutions provider Flexera Software recently outlined the requirements of this Act in a blog.

Among other things, the Federal CIO must develop a comprehensive software licensing policy that speaks to the management of enterprise software license agreements and commercial software licenses; establish a comprehensive inventory of enterprise licenses through the identification and collection of information about agreements through the use of automated tools; and then regularly track and maintain software licenses, establish goals and objectives for the software license program and consider the software license management lifecycle when making decisions.

This Act is holding government agencies accountable to the same licensing agreements that corporations have been negotiating for years. At the same time, it helps the government to put better controls in place so that agencies only buy and use what they actually need. This will not only help to clean up their digital environments, but also to keep software spending under control.

Other legislation that will help these agencies work towards that end includes the Federal IP Acquisition and Reform Act (FITARA) that will require Federal agencies to comply with end user agreements and enact processes to identify any waste, duplication, cost savings and more. The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Guidelines on FITARA will specify how agencies must comply with FITARA. The National Defense Authorization Act requires military department CIOs to determine utilization and optimization.

Finally, the Intelligence Authorization Act provides guidance for the CIP of the Intelligence Community to conduct an inventory of all software licenses, including those used and unused, and then report the results of this inventory to the Intelligence Community’s CIO. In doing so, the Intelligence Community should be able to minimize waste and focus investments on licenses that actually contribute to desired results.




Edited by Alicia Young
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