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Government Accountability Office, Federal Software Licenses: Better Management Needed to Achieve Significant Savings Government-Wide (GAO-14-413) (May 22, 2014) (full-text).


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the vast majority of agencies that GAO reviewed do not have adequate policies for managing software licenses. While OMB has a policy on a broader information technology (IT) management initiative that is intended to assist agencies in gathering information on their IT investments, including software licenses, it does not guide agencies in developing comprehensive license management policies.

Regarding agencies, of the 24 major federal agencies, 2 have comprehensive policies that include the establishment of clear roles and central oversight authority for managing enterprise software license agreements, among other things; 18 have them but they are not comprehensive; and 4 have not developed any. The weaknesses in agencies' policies were due, in part, to the lack of a priority for establishing software license management practices and a lack of direction from OMB. Without an OMB directive and comprehensive policies, it will be difficult for the agencies to consistently and effectively manage software licenses.

Federal agencies are not adequately managing their software licenses because they generally do not follow leading practices in this area.