How do you know if you have too much software?

As almost everybody now knows, there can be a high cost associated with “”under-licensing”” or pirating software, especially with groups such as the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft ready to blow the whistle resulting in humiliation, large fines and even jail sentences for companies with such


Not nearly reported as often, however, is when the reverse happens, when companies “”over-license,”” paying unnecessarily for software they do not use, and losing track of how often applications are used.

“”Everybody has the entire Microsoft Office suite on their desktops,”” says Randy Britton, spokesperson for Tally Systems, which has developed compliance tools that identify unnecessary software and reduce software overlicensing. “”Everybody uses Word, half use Excel and very few use Access. Yet companies are spending for multiple copies of full Office suites. You find that maybe one-third of applications being bought are being used.””

The Government of Nunavut, for one, is a user of the Tally Systems product. Curtis Kayfish, an IT administrator with the government, says one of the original reasons for selecting the product was the need to locate hacking software and other malicious software on the network.

Nunavat, he says, plans to upgrade within four to six months, partly because it wants to take advantage of the automated update feature, but then it saw other benefits in software compliance. “”We realized we could use it for its other intended purposes,”” says Kayfish. “”Especially if you can’t get out to see all the computers, you never know what’s installed out there.””

“”Companies routinely spend millions on software licenses that are underutilized or not used at all,”” says Steve DuScheid, product manager at Tally Systems. “”License compliance is about more than just fending off the software police.””

Evidently, it’s also about getting control of the software in your organization and making smart, cost-effective decisions when vendors come around asking you to renew.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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