Unified Communications

Is Your Company's Software Underused?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Moshe Kozlovski , co-CEO of SoftWatch Technologies Ltd.
  |  July 08, 2014

Think about all the different kinds of software that your organization uses to conduct business – from general applications like Microsoft (News - Alert) Word, Outlook, and Excel, to more specialized platforms like Salesforce.com, Hubspot, and even Adobe’s suite of creative products.

What would you do if you found out most of the software your organization purchased is used very lightly or not used at all?

I argue that the key factor in keeping IT budgets under control is effectively understanding application software usage across the enterprise to reduce unnecessary overhead costs and drive IT transformation such as moving business applications to the cloud and capitalizing on the BYOD trend.

Today, the worldwide enterprise software application market is massive, accounting for more than $120 billion, according to research firm Gartner, with Microsoft Office accounting for a whopping $16.5 billion slice of this pie. But how many of these applications are simply taking up hard drive space rather than being utilized on a daily basis to propel business initiatives forward?

In light of new study findings, CIOs and CTOs desperately need to re-examine how much they are spending on software. According to the study we conducted on Microsoft office applications, an overwhelming majority of employees spend less than one hour a week working within specific applications like Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, and Word.

The research findings analyzed real usage of MS Office across dozens of enterprises and included more than150,000 users, revealing that on average employees only spent 48 minutes per day using (i.e. creating and editing e-mails, documents, spreadsheets and presentations) MS Office applications, mostly in the e-mail application Outlook. It also unearthed high numbers of inactive users within organizations – for example, PowerPoint was completely unused by nearly half of the employees in this study and a majority of people only used Word and Excel for viewing documents and light editing (less than 1 hour per week for Word and less than 1.5 hours per week for Excel). Only a small percentage of users were considered heavy users: 2 percent in PowerPoint, 9 percent in Word, and 19 percent in Excel.

These findings are cause for alarm and should have minds reeling at the sheer amount of IT revenue waste happening each year within corporations around the globe. Given that a majority of employees in the study were considered only light users of MS products, these organizations are ideal candidates for migrating toward Google (News - Alert) Apps. Since so few of these individuals used advanced editing features, overall they will be more likely to embrace the convenience and collaboration features Google includes across its product offerings.

One of the most significant IT trends is the transition from on-premises software packages like Microsoft Office to cloud-based platforms like Google Apps. The allure of cloud-based solutions is undeniable; given the planned obsolescence of operating systems as demonstrated by Microsoft’s recent end-of-support of XP, having to continually purchase compatible software has become cumbersome for IT administrators and is no longer scalable. The BYOD trend is also driving IT transformation, and the cloud may offer more flexibility for corporations at a lower cost.

So what are other factors to consider when migrating to the cloud? The first step is fully analyzing the application usage trends happening right now within an organization. By deploying an application usage analytic, corporations can find out where they are in terms of real usage data, not just to see who has opened the application, but also to analyze user segmentation for light and heavy users. From these insights, IT managers and CTOs can then make informed decisions about the viability of moving to cloud-based software, provide management tools to ensure a smooth transition, and saving significantly on Microsoft licenses.

While some on-premises software can be extremely powerful for highly specialized tasks like CAD programs for engineering, SAS (News - Alert) for statistical analysis, and Photoshop to retouch images, for employees who spend a majority of time only using general applications like Microsoft Office, it may be time to head toward the clouds. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle