The Software Audit That Could Benefit Your Bottom Line

Nearly 30 percent of enterprise computer software installed on office computers goes unused—and it could cost your organization an average of $247 per desktop.

According to a software usage report released by 1E, a software lifecycle automation firm, an enterprise with 30,000 employees could waste $7.4 million annually on unused or underused software. The most likely culprits include: SAP Crystal Reports (63 percent), Adobe InDesign (55 percent), and Visio (47 percent). Microsoft Project Professional (46 percent) is another program that many employees have installed on their desktop, but rarely use.

Conduct an annual audit to find unused software

One of the most effective ways to determine what programs are being underutilized by staff is by conducting a software audit once a year. An effective way to do this is to install software that tracks program usage through each employee desktop. Allow the software to run for at least one week so that it can capture usage data from desktops as employees operate various programs throughout the work week. 

Once you have determined what software isn’t being used, you should look through invoices to determine how much you are paying in licensing fees. Make a list of the software, its cost, and the number of computers on which it is installed. Even if a yearly fee seems negligible, it adds up quickly depending on how many computers have the software installed. For example, if the Project Professional program, which has a $1,159 licensing fee, is installed on 10 desktops and is unused, the software would be costing your company over $11,000 that could be allocated elsewhere.

Additionally, review your list to determine which employees genuinely need certain software, even if they don’t use it on a regular basis (such as an administrative employee using Adobe InDesign to create a quarterly newsletter). For infrequent uses, a single copy can be kept on a single machine and used when needed. If anything is deemed unnecessary, such as a customer service representative having design software installed on a desktop, uninstall it.

Keep audit results in mind when purchasing new software

Once you have completed your audit and removed unnecessary software, keep such guidelines in mind when purchasing new software. Even in those cases where you have purchased software up front, the maintenance fees (typically 15-20% of the purchase cost, plus a 3-6% increase each year) on those licenses will continue. While more than price point goes into a software procurement decision, maintaining the mindset of efficiency will help ensure that the software procured will be both beneficial to your staff and cost-effective to your bottom line.

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