How many applications does your team utilize during a typical workday? As technology has evolved and remote and mobile work has become common, many businesses have deployed a flurry of solutions for everything from collaboration to file sharing to ensure their employees can complete their work from anywhere.
However, while the right apps can help end users get things done more effectively, too many applications can lead to the opposite outcome. If your IT system harbors old, under-utilized and redundant solutions, you can end up slowing your team down with a situation known as “app sprawl.”
What Is App Sprawl?
Application sprawl – or software sprawl – refers to a ballooning number of applications deployed on an IT system. Extraneous software eats up limited resources and leads to inefficient operations, according to Techopedia.
Companies suffering from software sprawl typically have programs in place that overlap in functionality, which can lead to underutilization of some apps, PC Mag states. This can happen when different departments in a large enterprise install separate software for the same purpose.
Potential Pitfalls of Software Sprawl
An abundance of overlapping apps can frustrate end users and hamper productivity. The transition to remote work last year led to software sprawl for many U.S. workers. At organizations that have deployed apps to make distributed and hybrid setups possible, 75 percent of employees feel that those solutions have the increased complexity of their work, according to a study from Citrix Systems.
“People are working the same or more hours, but they’re accomplishing less because technology is getting in their way,” Tim Minahan, executive vice president of business strategy and CMO at Citrix, said in a June 2021 press release.
In addition to making people’s jobs more complicated, having too many apps in place can make your business more vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks, according to the VentureBeat article “How to avoid drowning in application sprawl” by NTT DATA Services Vice President of Cloud Transformation Aater Suleman. Unused and old apps (or those unknown to your IT team, a.k.a. shadow IT) might get passed over for updates and monitoring, which could lead to weak points in your network.
Additionally, application sprawl can overwhelm your IT staff as they struggle to monitor and manage everything and respond to end users’ support needs.
How to Fix Application Sprawl
Here are a few steps you can take to combat software sprawl and ensure your end users and IT staff aren’t overwhelmed, according to the Memory blog entry “How to stay on top of software sprawl” and Suleman’s article.
- Audit the apps your team currently utilizes. Ask your staff members which applications they use regularly.
- Monitor application usage. Track the amount of time your team members spend on each program. This will shed light on which solutions are critical and which you don’t need.
- Ask your IT team to retire unused and redundant applications. This is just as important as evaluating and deploying new software regularly.
At the end of the day, apps should simplify our lives, but too many can make operations needlessly complicated. Do your team a favor by keeping an eye out for app sprawl and properly retiring solutions that no longer benefit your business.
If you have any questions about managing your applications and IT systems, our team would be happy to assist you in any way they can. Our techs can make life less stressful for your internal staff with our co-managed IT services, including software management. For organizations without in-house IT teams, we also offer comprehensive managed IT services. To learn more, give us a call at 877-599-3999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.