Last updated: March 3, 2012 - 3:00am
The Central Intelligence Agency told software vendors that it plans to revolutionize the way it does business with them as part of a race to keep up with the blazing pace of technology advances. Rather than stick with traditional all-you-can-eat deals known as "enterprise licensing agreements," the CIA wants to buy software services on a "metered," pay-as-you-go basis, Ira "Gus" Hunt, the agency's top technology officer, told an industry conference. "Think Amazon," he said, referring to the electronic commerce giant where the inventory is vast but the billing is per item. "That model really works." The old way of contracting for proprietary software inhibits flexibility, postponing the CIA's chance to take advantage of emerging capabilities early on, Hunt said. He added that this made it harder to keep up with "big data" at a time that such challenges are growing while federal agencies are tightening their belts for deficit reduction.