Catalytic Blog

Keep up with the latest digital transformation trends and learn how automation and AI are revolutionizing the future of work across industries.

The pitfalls of chaotic software sprawl and what you can do

Limit unnecessary costs, improve organizational structure and maintain compliance and governance with no-code technology.

As a company’s needs grow, the number of software systems, tools and apps that comprise its operations grows with it.

From department-specific SaaS systems for HR and accounting, to employee communication apps like Slack or Zoom, to file sharing software like Dropbox, companies may use dozens, if not hundreds of disparate software programs to function.

But what may fill a company’s needs in the short-term can create a bloated, inefficient tech stack in the long-term that causes significant problems for the business.


What is software sprawl?

An estimated 75% of company workloads will be SaaS-only by 2021, according to Cisco, meaning that the greater reliance on SaaS within a company’s operations creates a greater need for disparate systems to integrate and communicate effectively.   

Unfortunately, this rarely happens naturally. When separate departments are empowered to purchase and deploy SaaS products on their own—especially in larger organizations—a company may find their software operating in silos, have operational overlap, and some may be underused or not used at all. 

And even if departments have implemented process automation in certain pockets of the business, the lack of integration across the enterprise may stall the digital agility and true transformation companies need to perform. 

Let’s explore four of these issues associated with software sprawl.


Heightened and unnecessary costs

Unnecessary cost is a key concern for any business, and because investments in technology are inherently expensive, software sprawl can become the main culprit of wasted cash. Without tracking and analyzing carefully, you may be paying a hefty fee for licenses that may not be utilized to the full extent, yearly subscriptions that aren’t returning value based on employee usage, and extra features and functionality that have no bearing on your business. 

Not only are you paying for the technology, but also for the time that employees use it. When employees’ work requires pulling data from multiple systems, manual communication touchpoints, and disparate tasks that cause mistakes and delays, the burden of unnecessary costs puts your organization at a severe disadvantage.

Software sprawl kills company-wide communication

Just as cost transparency is important to the business, transparency within processes is just as vital. Software sprawl across departments can cause each of those departments to operate within a silo—there may be process efficiencies within the department itself, but communicating transparency to those outside the department may be difficult.    

For example, members of HR may have smart, consistent workflows in place for recruiting, onboarding and employee communication, as well as automations that make their jobs more efficient. But when working with other teams, those efficiencies have limitations without a solution that fills in the gaps. This trend can be even more difficult when working with third-parties like customers, agencies and vendors.


Organizational change is key to deliver on process needs

“Many roles will be required to drive process change at enterprise scale. Unlike most project-based technology initiatives, the resources and skills required will cross established organizational boundaries,” according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

Often times, companies try to make effective change only from the top-down. Leaders with influence will often make decisions that impact operations across the business. Mitigating software sprawl, however, requires insight from the employees who have the deepest knowledge of the processes themselves, regardless of department or role. 

Revamping organizational structure to empower employees who know processes best will be a key strategy to get the most from your tech stack.


The importance of governance, security, and compliance

With software sprawl often comes data sprawl, which creates overwhelming amounts and varieties of disparate data due to varying and multiple systems. When a company’s software environment isn’t condensed, unfortunately, neither is its data. With security risks at an all-time high, as well as an ever-evolving series of compliance and audit tasks that need to be addressed, sprawl can create a nightmare for the IT and legal team responsible to keep your company and its data safe. 

Condensing and streamlining your tech stack with a smart workflow automation tool can create the transparency, insight, governance and control to help move your company forward.

For more key insights around workflows, governance and organizational structure, take a look at the new report from Forrester Research.


How Catalytic solves software sprawl

  • Minimize cost – With Catalytic’s no-code smart workflow platform, you an create enterprise-wide automations at scale that connect processes and departments across the business to minimize costs and get the most from the tools you have. 
  • Increase communication – Initial process and department workflows are scalable, reaching across departments to ensure company-wide communication that delivers on productivity and corporate goals. 
  • Empower your employees – Both technical- and non-technical employees who have the deepest understanding of their processes can easily create and employ workflows to empower their teams and benefit the business.
  • Take control of governance –  Catalytic allows the insight, analysis and control of your company’s data to create an effective governance strategy, and to maintain safety and security across the enterprise.





See how leaders at companies like Catalytic customer Bosch created governance structure to tame software sprawl and achieve impactful process automation. 

Read Forrester report

Written by Catalytic