Government agencies and enterprises businesses have very different missions, purposes, and operating models. A business exists to provide a profit for its owners, while operating at maximum efficiency. A government entity exists to provide services to its constituents and citizens.
A well run business is self-correcting, as they change and adapt to the environment and market that they operate in. A well run government entity does not provide its services with a profit motive, but at the same time tries to not be wasteful with the people’s money, at least we hope.
Theory holds that a business that cannot operate effectively and profitably will eventually go bankrupt. This does not hold true for government agencies that must provide services, regardless of the economic climate they operate in, often without any incentives for efficiency and cost effectiveness.
But that does not mean that government agencies cannot be more effective in their spending. In my blog “Reducing Software Overspend in the U.S. Federal Government,” I wrote about how NASA saved $100 million on software licenses, and how cost savings were codified in recent legislation such as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and the MEGABYTE Act.
Since I wrote that blog, President Trump has signed an Executive Order entitled “A Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” the purpose of which is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch and other Federal Agencies.
Included in that action is the reorganization of structure, and possible elimination of many agencies, a move that could eventually lead to a downsizing of the overall workforce and changes to the basic functions and responsibilities of many agencies.
In a comment about the plan, President Trump said “We are going to do more with less, and make the government lean and accountable to the people….Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people.”
Without getting into the politics of this action, doing more with less has been a key operating principle of many businesses in many industries.
When retail businesses have a downturn due to the growth of online sales, they restructure by closing stores. Oil exploration firms cut back on drilling operations when gas prices are low. Airlines cut back on flights when planes operate below a certain capacity. Baseball teams trade high priced players and invest in low cost rookies if they have no chance of making the playoffs.
So if Federal Agencies are now tasked with reorganization and reforms, what are some ways that they can meet these challenges? Software Asset Management and Vulnerability Management processes and tools can help agencies meet these challenges by:
- Providing automated solutions for Software Asset Management (SAM) and Software Vulnerability Management that allow IT Operations and IT Security teams to be more efficient and productive
- Delivering cost savings for software and cloud services that allow agencies to continue to pursue strategic initiatives, even as IT budgets are being cut
- Preventing unbudgeted expenses and downtime due to software audits and security breaches
Let’s look at these items one at a time.
- The process of upgrading and patching software can be time consuming and labor intensive, especially for agencies spanning multiple locations. Moreover, to successfully manage software vulnerabilities in the environment, agencies need to know all about them. They need to know when a software vulnerability with an available patch is threatening their infrastructure, where it will have the most critical impact, what the right remediation strategy is and how to deploy it.
- According to Gartner, organizations that employ Software Asset Management processes and tools can save up to 30% on their software costs. The Federal Government spends about $6 billion per year on commercial software, resulting in a potential cost savings of $1.8 billion dollars. And cloud sprawl is an issue that impacts both business and government entities. Because cloud services are easy to purchase, it is easy to overspend and potentially waste resources without effective cloud management.
- Federal agencies are not immune to responding to software audits with their resulting true-up costs, fees, and potential legal action. For example, in 2016, a company called Bitmanagement filed a complaint that the United States Navy used $600 million worth of unlicensed software.
The question becomes, how to you get the information and insight that will help you meet the challenges of reorganization and reforms? Flexera has an entire library of White Papers and Webinars that will bring you the information you need to adapt to a changing environment, whether your work in business or government:
White Paper: How to Secure a Moving Target with Limited Resources
Also, be sure to subscribe to the Flexera YouTube Channel with over 550 product, education, and thought leadership videos where you can learn how Flexera is reimagining how software is bought, sold, managed and secured.
And if you have any tips about doing more with less, be sure to share them in the comment section below!