Old software drains IT budgets

Obsolete, redundant and unused applications cost companies billions of dollars each year in unnecessary IT spending, new research suggests.

BPM Forum — created to promote business performance management (BPM) techniques and technologies — surveyed 226 IT and business executives and found the majority say they aren’t getting the most out of their enterprise software investments.

Companies typically have no way of measuring software ROI, no process for tracking what software is used, and no system for qualifying and certifying existing or new applications, according to the BPM Forum report.

When asked how often they conduct a company-wide software audit to see how many business applications are active on the network, just 25 per cent of respondents said they do so once a year. More than 40 per cent said they do it on an “as-needed basis,” while 13.4 per cent never conduct audits.

Processes for getting rid of outmoded software are scarce: 73 per cent of respondents have no systematic process for doing so.

Companies appear more focused on bringing in new software than on tracking the value of applications after deployment, says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of BPM Forum. “I was very surprised at how little attention has been paid to the back-end part of the software life cycle. The software life cycle continues unabated even if it’s not producing value. Very few companies seem to audit and assess the usefulness and relevance of applications as they age,” he says.

Without proper controls in place, far too much unnecessary software winds up being supported on corporate networks. Among respondents, 70 per cent are convinced they’re maintaining redundant, deficient or obsolete applications.

All that effort comes at a high cost: 35 per cent of respondents estimate that unwanted applications consume between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of their IT budgets, and 23 per cent of respondents say the tally is greater than 15 per cent of that budget.

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