With home computers (and personal mobile devices) it’s easy to install software or apps and then forget about them – until they eventually slow things down enough that you decide to remove the dead weight. With computers in the workplace, it’s even more important to keep unneeded or unused software off machines. Forgotten software can cause problems in the event of a software audit, and there’s simply no reason to take up space and resources on a machine when it isn’t necessary. It slows things down and leaves less room for apps that actually are needed. In your organization’s software asset management strategy, having processes for periodically purging machines of unneeded software is a smart idea.
More Reasons for Software Removal
There may be any number of business-related reasons to remove unwanted software, other than the general ones mentioned above. For example, some organizations have official software rationalization processes that periodically compare software titles by classification and determine which ones meet needs best. Software removal should be a part of the hardware disposal / retirement process as well. For security reasons alone, whenever a piece of hardware is decommissioned, software needs to be removed. And finally, maintaining a current “supported software catalog” – perhaps as part of your IT service catalog – helps ensure the software people are using is software supported by your IT asset management program.
IT Asset Management Benefits of Timely Software Removal
Timely removal of unused or unsupported software benefits your IT service desk in many ways. For one thing, it prevents expectations that the IT help desk will support every release of a piece of software. For another, staying on top of product releases and removing old versions ensures end-users have access to the most current software functions, which may not have been present in older versions. And in some cases, licenses for software that is removed can be re-sold. Though not always possible, there’s nothing wrong with squeezing a little residual value out of no-longer-needed software when you can.
The Role of Internal Software Audits in Software Asset Management
If your organization periodically performs internal software audits as part of your software asset management approach (and it should), then a strategy for identifying and removing unused software can make these audits more efficient and less complicated. Your IT asset management system should help with recording important information like which machines you removed a license from and when. As an added bonus, preparing reports showing potential savings from reclaimed licenses can help your case when it’s time to plan resources for upcoming quarters. Internal software audits can not only alert you to unneeded software that can be removed, they can help you stay ahead of audits from software vendors, processes that can be stressful under the best conditions.
Removing Bloatware on New Computers
Many organizations remove “bloatware” from new computers as part of their software asset management program. This software uses resources and slows down computers unnecessarily. Typically, manufacturers are paid to install it, and it helps keep costs down. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Removing bloatware can be a helpful software asset management practice and keep end-user machines running faster, potentially preventing IT service desk tickets for problems with slow machines. It’s something to consider as part of your overall lifecycle management process.
Unnecessary software on personal devices can be an annoyance. On work machines, unnecessary software can lead to license noncompliance, slow processes down, and prompt more IT service desk tickets. Having procedures in place to regularly audit machines and remove unneeded software can help ensure license compliance and keep computers from running slower than they should. And with some software packages, licenses can be re-sold, helping your organization maximize return on investment for these applications.