Reining in Enterprise IT Costs Starts with the Applications

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    Application Bloat Afflicts the Enterprise

    Given the state of the economy, most businesses are obsessed with cutting costs, especially when it comes to IT. At the same, however, many of those same businesses are supporting a lot more applications than they need, which only serves to drive up IT costs.

    A recent survey of 150 IT managers at organizations with over $500 million in revenue that was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf the Quest Software division of Dell finds that enterprise application sprawl can easily wind up costing organizations millions of dollars. While many folks are quick to point the finger at internal IT organizations as being profligate spenders of limited budget dollars, if it were up to the internal IT organization, a lot of these applications would disappear overnight.

    Of course, it’s not up to the IT organization, which is really the root of the problem. Business executives all want their favorite applications to run by IT. Over the years and countless acquisitions, that results in large numbers of applications supporting redundant business processes. In fact, the study found that most organizations are only using about half the applications they have deployed on a daily basis. That would suggest there is a lot of room for application consolidation, or at the very least giving some thought to shifting applications that are not used very often to a cloud service provider.

    According to Scott Hollis, director of product marketing for Quest Software, before an IT organization can really figure out what applications really drive the business, they need to be able to monitor who is using what. Then they have a fighting chance of at least identifying what business units are consuming, how much they are consuming in the way of IT resources, and which ones are doing that most cost effectively. Armed with that information, Hollis says that IT at the very least can start making some financial arguments about which applications to prioritize from a resource perspective.

    Without that kind of information, IT organizations basically wind up between a rock and a hard place. The business wants to reduce IT costs in order to invest in new applications that drive innovation. But the vast majority of the IT budget winds up going to support legacy applications that hardly anyone is using. For many IT organizations, that winds up creating a scenario where everybody winds up losing. Alas, application bloat in the enterprise is not necessarily a new problem; it’s just perhaps become the most pressing.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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