Notes from IAITAM ACE Dublin: Reduce Costs and Risk for the Enterprise

I had the opportunity to speak at the IAITAM ACE Dublin conference earlier this month. My session was titled, “The Hidden Cost of Unused Software: What is unused software costing your business?” The session was on the final day, and on the final afternoon of the conference, so I did not expect a full room and an engaged audience. I was wrong.

My session gave attendees an exclusive preview of 1E’s Software Usage and Waste Report 2016. The report, based on exclusive data gathered over five years, and spanning 149 companies, 16 industries, and 4.6 million machines, offers insight into how much the average business is wasting on unused software. During the presentation, I informed the audience that over $34B of software sits unused on employee desktops – which equates to 38% of installed software across the data collected. However, I also suspected that no one in the room could fully appreciate how much $34B is and how a figure that massive, relates to their organization – and broke the number down more simply.  In short, our study found that the typical desktop has $247 in unused software – which equates to $7.5M per organization. That figure grabbed the audience’s attention.

SAM managers are continually looking to reduce cost and risk to their organization associated with their organization’s use of the software. The information from this report offers every SAM manager the proverbial ‘two birds with one stone.’ By reclaiming unused software, organizations benefit from cost and risk reduction. They do this by:

  1. Cost avoidance by reducing the volume of new license purchases: When you reuse software licenses, you may not have to acquire additional licenses of it – and may be able to reduce your year over year annual increase in software licenses.
  2. Maintenance Reduction and Avoidance: As this study demonstrates, 38% of software sits, unused, on corporate desktops. You may find through reclaim that you do not need to maintain your current level of maintenance.

We know that software vendors frequently audit their customers to ensure license compliance. Removing unused software in advance, and as part of an embedded, strategic SAM program can reduce risk from the vendor pursuing you for damages on the software you are not even using. Also, it reduces the attack vector associated with malware. Unused software is also un-patched software. Removing unused software increases your organization’s overall security posture.

So back to the session, I was very happy to see SAM managers learning a simple, straightforward way to save their organization’s money and reduce overall risk. In fact, one attendee said he recently did a similar reclaim exercise at his organization saving them over $600,000. He added that this was his first year at that employer. I suspect he’ll do well at review time.

I caught the last closing session before leaving Dublin. During the closing session, the CEO of IAITAM asks people what their favorite part of the conference was. Most people stated it was the networking, the ability to speak to others having similar challenges and the like. I got a smile on my face when one person said her favorite thing was the “Hidden Cost” session. Of course, it was not the full name of the session, but I’ll take it.

Download the Software Usage and Waste Report 2016 today. Want to learn more about your own organization’s unused software? Check out the Software Usage Dashboard in 1E’s free tool Software Intelligence at

Peter Beruk has been in the Software Asset Management (SAM) space for over 25 years. During that time, he has worked for software vendors including McAfee (now Intel), and vendor focused trade associations including BSA. Peter has advocated throughout his career that there must be a better approach to software management as vendor SAM programs are designed only to benefit vendors. During his time at BSA, Peter was instrumental in creating their ISO-aligned SAM programs that were first to bring the concept of audit forbearance to the marketplace if organizations committed to standardized SAM. While with BSA, he also joined the ISO working group responsible for the SAM standard (ISO 19770), where he advocated a simpler,  tiered approach to SAM. At 1E, Peter is a SAM Subject Matter Expert working to assist organizations with ISO SAM implementations and audit defense.  He continues serving as secretary of the ISO SAM working group and editor of the standard on SAM vocabulary and overview. Peter lives outside of Washington, DC and enjoys travel, getting out and walking with his two dogs.