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Microsoft Office applications barely used by many employees, new study shows

John E Dunn | May 5, 2014
Organisations are wasting money licensing Microsoft Office applications that the majority of employees barely use, a study released this week by application analytics startup SoftWatch has found. Conclusion: many users could easly be migrated to far cheaper cloud applications such as Google Apps.

The challenge is working out who those people are, which is where Softwatch's Application Usage Analytics SaaS service comes in, the firm said. It could analyse who was using what and for how long over a given period.

"By uncovering the fact that MS Office applications are actually used much less than had been thought, SoftWatch removes the fear and doubt that traps decision makers when it comes to transitioning from Microsoft to Google Apps," said CEO, Uri Arad.

"For the first time they will have real data enabling them to make intelligent decisions about transitioning to Google Apps, enjoy the benefits of an alternative cloud-based solution and significantly cut their software license spending.The analytics provided by SoftWatch are a real game-changer in the competition between Google and Microsoft over enterprise office and collaboration tools."

SoftWatch currently has agreements with Google Apps resellers because this represented the obvious migration path but SoftWatc was, in essence, agnostic, he emphasised. The system was also capable of monitoring any on-premises application and not just Office.

After stripping out unnecessary licensing Office licenses, organisations were left with a hybrid environment, part cloud, part desktop Office.

"We believe that this kind of analytics might become a game changer," said Arad. He predicted that in future the analysis of application usage would underpin all software licensing decisions.

So far, SoftWatch is alone in the market for this kind of service although that is unlikely to remain true if organisations starts assessing cloud application migration in more detail. What Microsoft thinks of this kind of system is probably unprintable but with the cloud-oriented Nadella in charge, the slow death of desktop licensing is probably now seen as inevitable anyway. How the firm competes with Google's Apps will depend on what it can offer itself through systems such as Office 365.


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