Are unused applications eating away at your bottom line? Struggling to get a grip on Software Asset Management? With 80% of UK businesses paying too much for software licences, you’re not alone.
Application hoarding is one of those things that we are all guilty of doing over time, but this behaviour can drain your IT operating budget and use up vital system resources. As a large organisation, gaining oversight and control of your sprawling application portfolio is no simple task, which may be why 81% of companies say they have unused applications on their company network.
Let’s look at how you can regain control of your application estate in three simple steps:
Step 1: Review your application estate
Assessing how applications are used, by whom and how frequently is key to understanding the cost of your application portfolio. IT managers are able to see how many licenses are required and where consolidation might be possible, as well as discovering unused licenses.
Sounds great in theory, however gathering all this data can be a daunting task. Increase of BYOD also adds to the complexity, with 70% of SMB’s reporting use of employee-introduced applications.
Auditing application usage once was a case of employing several monitoring programs and filling-out spreadsheets. This time consuming and manual process would take up IT resources that were better spent on more important tasks, so it often got put to one side… until of course a vendor announced a software licensing audit, which would send IT teams into a spin!
However, newer tools have sped up this process and provide a much higher degree of accuracy. Enterprise Application Portfolio Management (EAPM) software, enables IT managers to coordinate the application estate review from one dashboard, centralising information and creating quick and detailed reports when required.
Step 2. Trim back your portfolio
After a full review of your current application portfolio it will be easier to see which applications are redundant, need updating or are essential to day-to-day tasks. Newer software may be able to complete the tasks of two or more current applications, saving on licensing costs, and streamlining your portfolio overall.
To help keep your portfolio lean and agile, here are a few key things to remember…
- Don’t overbuy – 41% of UK businesses think they are over-buying on licenses. Whilst it is tempting to purchase unlimited seats on licenses, this can be a costly mistake. Not only are you likely to pay more in the longer term, unlimited agreements also restrict flexibility. It is worth considering how your IT needs may grow or adapt in the future to enable savvy license purchasing now. You may find that underused applications with unlimited licenses are costing you a lot of money – but the vendor is unlikely to downsize to a traditional per-seat license. It’s always easier to scale up licenses than to scale down.
- Find benchmarks – With non-disclosure clauses being standard in most licensing contracts, it can be very difficult to benchmark your licensing costs. It may be well worth speaking to a specialist analyst firm who are likely to have amassed such information and this investment could save significant amounts in the longer term.
- Assess your actual needs – This sounds obvious, but is so often overlooked – 78% of UK businesses don’t know if they even have the right licenses. Assessing your overall application estate and rationalising which applications are used, and the frequency of their usage, can help you make better informed licensing decisions. You may discover many applications which are used but only require basic or free versions of the software- such as PDF viewers – saving you vast amounts as you only fully license the few users who require it.
Step 3. Implement changes with efficient workflows
Streamlining your portfolio will generally require a great deal of project management, whether retiring apps, migrating your OS, deploying new applications, or managing software lifecycles. Currently 87% of companies find updates disruptive and expensive, however automation can not only simplify the process to save time and money, but also frees up your IT team for other tasks such as innovation and strategy.
As you can see, an unruly application estate has great potential to drain your bottom line. However by maintaining a complete end-to-end view of your portfolio and automating workflows, businesses can remain agile, competitive and responsive to the changing IT landscape.