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ISAMMar 28, 2024 10:10:08 AM4 min read

Understanding the SAMOSA Act: Purpose, Impact, and Advantages

In the intricate realm of federal IT, efficient management of software assets is paramount. Recognizing this imperative, the United States government has embarked on a bold journey with the introduction of the SAMOSA Act.


Introduction of the SAMOSA Act

In September 2022, the Senate introduced the SAMOSA Act (S. 4908), sponsored by Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). This bill aims to enhance the management and oversight of software assets within government agencies. It seeks to improve visibility, accountability, and oversight of software asset management practices.

The SAMOSA Act aligns with previous initiatives like FITARA and MEGABYTE bills, reflecting a growing recognition of the need to control federal software costs. Additionally, it is supported by multiple executive orders, the White House Better Contracting Initiative and GAO reports, underscoring its importance in modernizing government software management practices.


Understanding the Need

Three decades ago, Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) were introduced for a mainframe-dominated environment, with IBM representing half of the software costs and the top five Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) covering the bulk of the rest. ELAs typically encompassed 20-40 products per mainframe, with each hosting 200-300 software licenses. While initially centralized, ELAs evolved to accommodate distributed environments, expanding to hundreds of diverse products across decentralized infrastructures.

With the proliferation of distributed computing, software variety surged alongside the introduction of internet and mobile computing, leading to disorganized management practices. Today, the largest civilian federal agencies operate 100,000 to 500,000 devices, with 3 million to 10 million software installations from hundreds of vendors. This decentralization, coupled with the absence of centralized software asset management, has allowed software vendors to exploit the situation through ELAs, resulting in significant compliance fees and hindering real-time software license compliance and financial management.


Core Principles of SAMOSA

At the heart of SAMOSA is the imperative to understand the procurement, deployment, and usage of software for specific agency purposes. Building upon the foundation laid by FITARA and MEGABYTE bills, SAMOSA enhances software management effectiveness. While FITARA required reporting assets and savings, and MEGABYTE emphasized deployment, SAMOSA bridges the gap by linking software deployment with cost savings through enhanced effectiveness and efficiency measures.


Implementation of SAMOSA

SAMOSA mandates federal agencies to maximize the effectiveness of deployed software. This directive fills a crucial void in existing legislation by establishing a clear framework for aligning software management practices with cost-saving objectives. This ensures more streamlined and efficient operations, ultimately leading to significant cost reductions.


How SAMOSA Works

The SAMOSA Act entails a comprehensive approach to address longstanding issues in federal software management. It mandates a thorough assessment of software assets across agencies, providing a roadmap for consolidation, optimization, and modernization.

  1. Comprehensive Assessment
    Under SAMOSA, each agency's Chief Information Officer (CIO) collaborates with key officials to conduct a detailed assessment of existing software assets. This includes inventorying current software holdings, analyzing usage and deployments, categorizing entitlements, identifying restrictions and compliance issues, and evaluating license management policies.
  2. Development of Modernization Plans
    Armed with insights from the assessment, agencies develop tailored modernization plans. These plans focus on consolidating entitlements, adopting cost-effective acquisition strategies, restricting unauthorized acquisitions, automating license management processes, and enhancing governance and compliance mechanisms.


Enhancing SAMOSA Effectiveness: Key Points

The SAMOSA Act incorporates crucial elements to ensure its success:

  1. Executive Involvement
    Executive oversight is vital for enforcing policies and achieving SAMOSA Act goals amidst numerous software purchasing decisions.
  2. Automated Software Discovery Tools
    Unified tools reconcile data discrepancies, providing validated and audited data crucial for compliance.
  3. Software License Management Policies
    Robust governance ensures adherence to policies, optimizing software utilization.
  4. Software Categorization
    Functional categorization maximizes negotiation leverage with vendors, minimizing costs.
  5. Software Entitlement Analysis
    Understanding entitlements is essential for cost control amidst changing vendor rules.


What It Means for You

As a Federal Agency, the SAMOSA Act presents both challenges and opportunities. While compliance with the Act's requirements will require effort and resources, the benefits are substantial:

  • Enhanced visibility and control over software assets
  • Reduction of unnecessary costs and license duplications
  • Improved performance and efficiency through optimized software deployments
  • Strengthened governance and compliance with software license agreements


Federal Software Management: SAMOSA Act Impact

The SAMOSA Act is a game-changer in federal software management, reflecting the evolving landscape of government IT. Federal spending on IT reached $73 billion in FY2024, with software costs ranging from $15-25 billion. Industry benchmarks indicate agencies overspend on software by 20-30%, mainly due to poor license management, resulting in annual government overspending of $4-$8 billion. While better Software Enterprise Agreements can help, real savings lie in effective software deployment, licensing and management, as emphasized in the SAMOSA Act.

Government Agency CIOs can leverage SAMOSA to revolutionize software asset management, driving efficiency and transparency. Passing this legislation is vital not just for cost optimization but also for securing additional funding for cybersecurity and other critical IT initiatives.

With over 27 years of experience, ISAM stands ready to guide agencies in seizing this opportunity for innovation and cost-effectiveness in federal IT infrastructure.


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