Homeland Security Consolidates Software Purchasing

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano aims to save more than $280 million over the next six years by consolidating software licensing purchases. While it may save money, critics say the move will reduce opportunities for solution providers selling into the government.

The Department of Homeland Security’s plan to save money on software purchasing will likely make it harder for solution providers and integrators to sell into the massive federal agency.

The plan, announced last week by Secretary Janet Napolitano, calls for the DHS to consolidate software licensing purchasing, which is expected to save more than $280 million over the next six years.

"By using strategic sourcing—in other words, buying these licenses as one department—we expect to save over $47 million per year, and $283 million over the next six years," Napolitano said in a news conference.

The Department of Homeland Security is a massive organization created by the Bush administration following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack by consolidating numerous law enforcement and security agencies. The DHS buys software and other IT goods through smaller contracts administered by the agency’s subordinate organizations.

It’s a process that Napolitano says makes no sense, and the consolidation of purchasing will take effect within 60 days.

While licensing consolidation may save the DHS as much as $47 million annually, the change in acquisition policy will likely make it harder for solution providers—particularly smaller companies—to service the agency.

"Normally when the government does these things, there are less deals, the total revenue available declines and the margin goes down," says Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram Micro’s government and education division. "While this might be a good way for DHS to reduce their overall spend on some particular software vendor, it reduces the opportunity for the channel players."

Napolitano says the DHS will cut down on the amount of printing it does, both to decrease the amount of paper it uses and facilitate more digital transactions.


Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.