White House sets deadlines in new software directive

​The White House set several several deadlines in a directive released Monday​ that CFO Act agencies must meet in 2016 and beyond​ for better management and procurement of their software licenses.

The White House set several several deadlines Monday that major U.S. agencies must meet in 2016 and beyond for better management and procurement of their software licenses.

The deadlines are in a directive, Category Management Policy 16-1: Improving the Acquisition and Management of Common Information Technology: Software Licensing, that looks to centralize software management within so-called CFO Act agencies, and promote and offer governmentwide software agreements to reduce inefficiency and redundancy. FedScoop broke the news of the new guidance prior to its publication in an exclusive interview with U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung.

Within that guidance, Rung, in partnership with U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, has set the following deadlines:

Immediately, CFO Act agencies must eschew terms and conditions with vendors that forbid them from sharing pricing and other information with other government entities. The federal government’s move to category management procurement and purchasing more strategically hinges on the ability for agencies to share procurement information to limit redundancy, inefficiency and ineffectiveness.


“This is something we saw as sort of fundamentally hurting us in terms of a core principle of category management is greater sharing and collaboration,” Rung told FedScoop. “But people were entering into these terms and agreements with companies” prohibiting sharing. “So we’re saying they will not.”

At the same time, the General Services Administration is beginning work to build an inventory management tool agencies can use to keep track of their software. The Office of Management and Budget is developing metrics to hold agencies to the guidance and measure savings.

[Read our exclusive coverage preview: White House will fix way government buys software]

Within 30 days, agencies must provide OMB the name and contact information of their new centralized software manager. A key tenant of the new guidance, agencies will be required to appoint a centralized software manager and team to report to its CIO. The manager will “develop a plan for moving to a more centralized management of their licenses” and “develop a plan to increase the use of governmentwide software license agreements,” Rung said. “And not only just develop a plan, but do it.”

At the 30-day mark, GSA should have guidance for agencies to post and maintain their software pricing information on the Common Acquisition Platform, a gateway for unified and centralized governmentwide contracting under category management.


Within 120 days, the category management team for enterprise software — comprised of officials from GSA, OMB and the Defense Department — will publish guidance identifying best-in-class software licensing agreements and best practices for use by agencies on the acquisition gateway. This team, under the guidance, will lead the governmentwide push for more strategically sourced software procurements, looking to strike new deals in areas where software licensing is most fragmented.

By Feb. 28, 2016, agencies must submit to OMB plans to centralize their software management. Part of the software managers focus, these plans should take into account “life-cycle phases, funding aggregation, and other considerations, such as cloud-based licensing models (e.g., Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and mobile device application management),” according to the guidance.

By Aug. 31, 2016, the category management team for enterprise software will publish software inventory reporting requirements to OMB’s MAX portal.

Within six months, agencies will be required to use continuous diagnostics and mitigation tools to manage their software licenses in real-time.

By May 31, 2016, agencies will have to submit an annual report of software license inventory, and continue to do so each year thereafter.


By Sept. 30, 2016, the software category team will pilot new funding mechanisms and license aggregation tools.

Oct. 1, 2016, OMB will begin diving into the agency-reported governmentwide spend on software licenses and exploring the results.

The public has until Jan. 20, 2016, to comment on the proposed guidance.

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