Army plans to audit software assets

An Army National Guard study that examined how frequently three software products were used in 21 states found that the majority of Guard users had never actually used the products.

Now, the same asset discovery pilot exercise is going Armywide.

Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, Army CIO, said the service authorized the purchase of asset management software, developed by BDNA Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., to get a handle on other unused software programs. The directors of information management will use the tool to inventory their software programs and usage. The same effort will be performed centrally, out of the CIO office, Boutelle said.

'Guess who's paying for the licenses?' Boutelle asked attendees at the recent Army LandWarNet Conference. 'By next summer, we're going to start shutting down licenses. We need those resources to reallocate other places. We've allowed this stuff to sprout like flowers.'

The Army National Guard pilot looked at Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office's Project and Visio. Across the 21 states, 61.5 percent of Guard employees had never used the Adobe product, 77 percent had never touched Project and 67 percent had never launched Visio. 'It was surprising but it wasn't a shock,' Boutelle said of the findings.

The asset exercise is part of a larger plan to phase out legacy programs and systems under a 'Buy, Hold, Sell' portfolio management philosophy, Boutelle said. Commanders need to ask themselves which programs are programs of record, which ones have become de facto programs of record, and which ones they can get rid of.

'We have built an Army that's unsustainable for the long-term,' Boutelle said. 'We cannot afford to operate the Army we built today in the future. As the budget goes down, those supplementals will dry up.'

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