The government's recent end of first year ICT strategy report revealed that in the 12 months from April 2011 to April 2012, the total number of software licences held in the government's assets and services register was 18.4 million. But the total number used was around 12 million, suggesting that 6 million software licences are currently not being used.
The Government Procurement Service (GPS) has now said it wants to gain a complete picture of government software and generate more flexibility in its use of software licences. This comes after the Cabinet Office confirmed last week that a recent prior information notice (PIN) for a system that would provide a centralised view of government software and "dynamic management of licence transfer" was issued in error.
The pre-tender for the management of government software assets and related licence transfer services was originally issued on 30 May and has now been cancelled.
But, the Cabinet Office told Guardian Government Computing: "[W]hile the PIN has been published prematurely, we can confirm that we have undertaken some early market and stakeholder engagement to define the requirement before commencing full market engagement in the coming weeks.
"Further information will be published in due course. We recognise the importance and value of having a centralised view of government software assets with the dynamic management of licence transfer."
Stephen Roberts, managing director of public sector market intelligence firm Kable, said: "The onus is on the government to make the most of licence consolidation deals with established vendors, so revenue is linked directly to the aggression with which consolidation is pursued, and the reliability of the data held.
"CDS, the web publishing SME which built the low-spec assets and services information repository Ask ICT, hopes to include a resource description framework in the next release. Perhaps the efficiency reform group plans to procure something more robust? When a formal tender emerges, the important questions would be quite how dynamic a licence transfer model, and what type of provider, the ERG has in mind."
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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