Update: On July 29, 2016 The MEGABYTE Act became public law. Read full documentation is available at congress.gov.

I, along with my 1E colleagues, and I am sure, fellow taxpaying Americans, am applauding the introduction of the MEGABYTE Act by the US Congress. The Making Electronic Government Accountable by Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act requires federal agencies to identify exactly how they will manage both enterprise software license agreements and commercial software licenses. Introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Gary Peters, D-Mich, the Act comes after a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that stated only two of 24 key agencies have implemented appropriate software management policies.

The US Government spent $74 Billion on information technology in the fiscal year 2013. GAO went on to explain that this figure understates the total amount spent as it does not include 58 independent executive branches including the Central Intelligence Agency, or the legislative or judicial branches.

When speaking to Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E about this Act, he stated, “The need for the US Government and other governments around the world to proactively manage their software spend is the same as the need to manage cost in any Enterprise businesses.” He added, “Given the size of government spending it is crucial that they implement strategic software asset management with the goal of reducing costs.”

1E recently published a report on the cost of unused software. The findings analyzed the results of a four-year study of over 1,800 software titles deployed on 3.6 million desktops, in 129 enterprises, across 14 industries. The report found that an astonishing 37% of software us unused or rarely used. The data from the report shows that Government organizations waste, on average, 28% of their software spend on unused or rarely used software. This waste figure doesn’t even take into account the cyber security concerns that confidential information may be exposed should the unused software not be patched with security updates.

The requirements contained in the MEGABYTE Act, include:

  • Requiring agencies to identify clear roles, responsibilities and central oversight authority within the agency for managing enterprise software license agreements and commercial software licenses.
  • Agencies to establish a comprehensive inventory, including 80 percent of software license spending and enterprise licenses in the agency.
  • Agencies to regularly track and maintain software licenses in implementing decisions throughout the software license management lifecycle.
  • Agencies to analyze software usage and other data to make cost-effective decisions.
  • Departments to provide training relevant to software license management.
  • Departments to establish goals and objectives of the software license management program of the agency.
  • Agencies to consider the software license management lifecycle phases, including the requisition, reception, deployment and maintenance, retirement, and disposal phases, to implement effective decision making and incorporate existing standards, processes, and metrics.

1E looks forward to working with more US Government Federal agencies on implementing strategic software asset management processes to help save the estimated $4 Billion that could be saved by simply better managing software licenses. 1E is delighted to be already engaged with Federal departments and agencies (including one of the larger Departments, with over 450,000 desktops and 30,000 servers). The US is showing significant leadership in this area and government organizations worldwide would do well to consider implementing a Strategic Enterprise Software Asset Management program to effectively reduce cost and improve the impact of each dollar, pound, euro, etc. spent. 1E can help.

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Peter Beruk has been in the Software Asset Management (SAM) space for over 25 years. During that time, he has worked for software vendors including McAfee (now Intel), and vendor focused trade associations including BSA. Peter has advocated throughout his career that there must be a better approach to software management as vendor SAM programs are designed only to benefit vendors. During his time at BSA, Peter was instrumental in creating their ISO-aligned SAM programs that were first to bring the concept of audit forbearance to the marketplace if organizations committed to standardized SAM. While with BSA, he also joined the ISO working group responsible for the SAM standard (ISO 19770), where he advocated a simpler,  tiered approach to SAM. At 1E, Peter is a SAM Subject Matter Expert working to assist organizations with ISO SAM implementations and audit defense.  He continues serving as secretary of the ISO SAM working group and editor of the standard on SAM vocabulary and overview. Peter lives outside of Washington, DC and enjoys travel, getting out and walking with his two dogs.