Cyber, talent challenges sideline USPS software license management

A new report from the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general has found that the agency’s software license management program is noncompliant with both its policies and industry best practices.

The report looks at USPS efforts to manage its software license management environment—on which the agency spent $174 million in fiscal 2016 alone—finding delays in efforts to deliver an updated system and contract management flaws.

“Without a fully implemented centrally managed software license program, the Postal Service cannot readily track and analyze software license usage across the organization to ensure it does not purchase unnecessary software licenses and ensure compliance with software license agreements,” the report said. “This could result in missed opportunities for volume pricing, purchasing of unneeded licenses or penalties for non-compliance with software license agreements.”

One such instance of noncompliance penalties occurred in fiscal 2015, when the USPS racked up $26.8 million in penalties it paid to a supplier for “inappropriate software license usage for two applications.”

The agency began work on an updated system in fiscal 2014, but investigators said that delays have pushed its projected rollout back to fiscal 2020. In the meantime, the current system fails to meet USPS policies by not possessing an enterprisewide software license inventory that utilizes automated discovery or metrics capabilities.

The report found that the USPS’s IT Acquisition Support group, which manages the agency’s software license inventory, does operate a database of license information that it monitors annually for contract compliance, but it is done manually. Officials told the OIG it could take them three works or more to determine the contract compliance of larger software contracts.

Officials said the enhanced system delays resulted from management focusing its priorities on agencywide cybersecurity-related…

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