Do you have a removals policy?

Do you have a removals policy? Having been in Software Asset Management for as long as I have, it has always astounded me that we focus with a passion on consolidation of contract data, and the aligning of installs under wider volume agreements to save future spend on license fees and support and maintenance costs.

But what strikes me as odd, is that too many companies are almost driven to a state of paralysis if someone makes the suggestion that what could also help our future-spend on software is to reclaim the installs that aren’t currently in use.

Not only does this make sense from an IT house-keeping point of view (far too much software preloads itself into RAM for a supposed instantaneous leap into action at the merest sniff of a mouse click), but it clearly makes sense from a financial perspective, so that future purchases are not forced upon the company if requests are made for a title that sits idle on other devices.

Equally, do you find your help desk team trying to support every flavor and iteration of a software title because users have the power to retain software titles that are possibly 3, 4, or 5 times behind the current or preferred release?  I suspect if a removals policy is not in place, then there is a strong chance neither is there a “Supported Software List” or even a technology roadmap guiding and informing the IT department.

This is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog – whilst we should be informed of end users wishes and requirements in respect of the software they might want, as IT professionals we have an “IT Duty of Care” to abide by.  i.e. we should also consider what’s best for the needs of the business; not merely what will cut down on the number of call and complaints to the help-desk staff.

This issue of unused software is a many-headed hydra, and one that is founded in the request process.  When submitting a request for a software title, does your form have a business justification associated with it?  And if so, how often is it read?  Furthermore, how often is it acted upon?  If a business justification is given as something as generic or nondescript as “to write reports”, does your approvals mechanism seek to challenge that? Or at least get it qualified?  I have seen no end of software being installed mostly due to “desktop envy” – my workmate/colleague got it, so I need it.

Treat like with like; get as enthusiastic about removing software as your users do about requesting it in the first place.  If you can get the right harmony, then drafting and promoting a removals policy could cascade great benefits to your packaging and deployment staff, as well as procurement and finance.

A video about this, and other quality SAM processes are available from our videos page.

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