Businesses are wasting millions on unused software licenses

Stock photo of young woman’s face as she contemplates one of the many computer monitors that surround her.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new report has uncovered the alarming figure that businesses are wasting every year on unused software licenses.

Surveying six million customers spanning nine industries across 12 regions. Nexthink looked at over 30 popular software tools and uncovered that 50% of all licenses were not being used.

The cost for the unused licenses alone was said to be putting a $45 million drain on the companies every single month, which each year adds up to almost $537 million worth of wasted software.

TechRadar Pro needs you!
We want to build a better website for our readers, and we need your help! You can do your bit by filling out our survey and telling us your opinions and views about the tech industry in 2023. It will only take a few minutes and all your answers will be anonymous and confidential. Thank you again for helping us make TechRadar Pro even better.

D. Athow, Managing Editor

Unused software licenses

What’s worse, the figure could be even higher, because the estimate only considers the average cost for the licenses, which may not account for higher tiers that some businesses may be choosing to opt for.

Among the most commonly-lapsed licences were the likes of Tableau, Trello, Notion App, Spotfire, and BlueJeans.

At the other end of the spectrum, Slack, Teams, Zoom, Webex, and Asana were all noted to be actively utilized, suggesting that communications, video conferencing, and work management platforms remain crucial to business operations. 

A separate poll of 200 IT leaders found that only 5.5% of them claimed “complete visibility” into how many of their employees were actively using licensed software, further suggesting that companies are out of touch with their workers’ habits.

To cut down on the huge unnecessary expenditures, Nexthink says that companies should regularly conduct software usage audits which may help them negotiate more favorable contracts and terms in the future.

Businesses are also urged to ditch the ‘one size fits all’ approach which often sees workers receiving overpowered hardware and an abundance of unnecessary software, leaving others without the resources that they need.

Finally, companies should also consider collecting qualitative data alongside the quantitative data that backs up their license usage. It may be that employees find certain tools especially useful on occasion, but the figures may not suggest that. 

Whichever situation your business is in, given the tough outlook that lies ahead, cutting back on your software bills may help you to weather the storm and protect employees’ roles, too.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!