The Real Cost of Unused and Over-provisioned Microsoft Licenses

November 15, 2021

If you think that old Microsoft software that lingers on your company’s system isn’t doing anyone any harm, you need to think again. Let’s find out more.

Deep in the recesses of your organisation’s IT system, are there Microsoft applications that you haven’t used for years? Perhaps it’s Visio Standard, Project Professional or Office Professional+? Or maybe there are only a handful of people in your company using an application, so they’re being paid for but unused by a large number of your users? Or maybe unbeknown to you you still have old unsupported versions of operating systems like XP.

You might not think these unused or over-provisioned licenses or redundant operating systems pose any significant problem to your business. After all, you bought the licenses or subscriptions and that’s that. In some cases, you may not be paying a yearly subscription for these old unsupported pieces of software. However, there are still considerable issues associated with wasted or unused software solutions. In this article, we’ll look at three risks – and what you can do about them.

1 – Unused software is a waste of budget

Technology moves fast and software goes out of date quickly. While this enables companies to serve their customers better, it is also one of the causes of software wastage. After all, companies always want to have the latest innovations, and would rather move quickly.

However, this approach - getting the latest software in or buying multiple licenses without working out how it will be used or who will use it - is an inefficient way to budget. A report by 1E found that in the UK, an average of £159 was spent per desktop on software that wasn’t used. In the US, that figure is a staggering £259 per desktop.

IT budget is not infinite, so when a piece of software comes out that people actually need and would provide value, companies often don’t have the money.

2 – Unused software slows down your business

This doesn’t mean software that you don’t use taking up space on your company’s system and slowing it down – although it doesn’t help. It’s that wasting budget on software and licenses that you don’t use is indicative of wider problems in a business.

The most successful companies in the world move quickly to adapt to changing customer needs and changes in the marketplace. They can do this because they run extremely efficiently. However, if your company is overpaying for Microsoft licenses, can you really say that you run lean? If you can’t, you’re in danger of being left behind by the companies that can.

3 – Unused software is a security risk

As well as being a waste of budget and a hindrance as you compete with leaner companies, there is an even more significant risk to having unused Microsoft licenses on your system – the risk of cyber attack.

Cyber attacks can be disastrous to your business, financially and reputationally. But often, cybercriminals find their way into your system by attacking vulnerabilities, such as long-forgotten software applications or operating systems. If you have a sprawling software inventory, it’s time to slim it down to the programs you actually use, and with an eye on safety.

How to fix the problem of wasted spend

The good news is, rather than have to explore the dark corridors of your company’s IT systems to locate unused software or overprovisioned licenses, you can pinpoint exactly where your overspend is using innovative software like iAnalyse360 from iPortalis. Once you’ve analysed the M365 software in your business and identified unused licenses and redundant operating systems, you can see exactly which applications and sub-applications are being really used so that you can make better strategic decisions, save money and reduce cyber security risks.

Having identified the license changes that you can make to rightsize and reduce your spend the iPortalis solution includes a license management engine that executes the changes. It’s never been easier to manage and optimise your Microsoft 365 and Azure estate and get your software licensing under control. With the forthcoming Microsoft 365 price increases there is also no better time to identify how you can avoid those cost increases.

iPortalis has already realised multi million-pound savings for many of the largest enterprises and through an easy and complementary health check can identify the extent of the cost reduction opportunity within a couple of weeks.


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Graham Paterson