Nearly two-thirds of enterprises are supporting more or "far more" applications than they actually need to run their operations, according to a survey released Monday by Hewlett-Packard and Capgemini.
Just 4 percent of the roughly 100 IT decision-makers polled consider every system they run to be "business-critical," according to the study.
The simple cost of retiring applications was the leading reason cited for keeping obsolete software in production, since most IT budgets are aligned around areas like maintaining existing applications and new projects, according to the study.
Smaller companies surveyed didn't have the same problems with excessive software. Almost 75 percent of small businesses said they have "just the right" number of applications, and another 23 percent said they don't have enough.
There was a wide disparity in application portfolio sizes as well. Eighty-four percent of smaller companies said they support fewer than 50 applications. Meanwhile, enterprises reported they handle up to 10,000 applications.
Bloated and redundant IT landscapes result from factors like mergers and acquisitions, coupled with a lack of formal processes for retiring software, the study said.
Its respondents were from companies of a variety of sizes and industries, with 63 percent in Europe and 37 percent in the U.S.
HP and Capgemini provide a range of application modernization products and services.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com