From the May 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

It may be time to get tough on your business software--namely, obsolete programs, old versions and applications that aren't in line with your business goals. A recent report by the Business Performance Management Forum took a look at this neglected issue. They surveyed a cross section of businesses and found more than 70 percent of respondents were convinced there were redundant, deficient or obsolete applications being maintained and supported on their networks. Forty percent estimated unwanted programs consumed more than 10 percent of their IT budgets. That can add up to a lot of unnecessary costs.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they had no system in place to deal with retiring applications. A companywide software audit can identify what applications are active on the network, but more than 40 percent of businesses surveyed conduct audits only on an as-needed basis. Just over 13 percent never conduct software audits at all. If you don't have an IT department to handle such a task, it can be brought up with your outsourced IT consultant.

Now that the issue has been raised, there's the question of what to do about it. "Setting up some kind of formal process to review it on a regular basis is a great first step that would benefit almost anybody," says Don Scott, managing director of the Palo Alto, California-based BPM Forum. "Business owners need to see what software is actually being used day to day so they can identify what software might be candidates for removal," he says. With potential IT savings dangling like a carrot in front of you, this may be a good time to take a second look at your software lineup. Chances are, some of it won't be missed.