You probably know someone who pays for some absurd combination of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, ESPN+, Discovery+, Paramount+, Peacock, and Amazon Prime. It's not the best use of money because there's so much overlap, and let's be honest—they're just going to end up re-watching the same show for the eighth time anyway.
And you know what? The same is true for the software subscriptions you use for your business.
The apps you might not know you're paying for
Most businesses pay for at least one large software bundle, typically for email hosting and other core office apps like word processing and spreadsheets. Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are probably the biggest bundles, so I'm going to focus on those, but there are others out there (Zoho Workplace comes to mind).
Whatever bundle you have, there's a good chance there are apps in there you don't know about. And that might mean that you're paying extra for software that you already have access to. For example:
Video call apps. Millions of companies pay for Zoom, and I'm willing to bet a number of those companies also pay either Google or Microsoft for their bundles. Which is interesting, because every business version of Microsoft 365 comes with Microsoft Teams, which offers really great video call quality. Google Workspace comes with Meet, a video meeting app that offers several features Zoom doesn't.
Team chat apps. Plenty of companies pay for Slack even though they already also pay for one of the big bundles. Google Workspace offers Chat, which is a similar service to Slack, and Microsoft Teams is the fastest-growing team chat app on the market. Both of these apps are among the best team chat apps, but a lot of companies don't realize they're already paying for them.
Email hosting. Google Workspace's and Microsoft 365's business plans both come with email hosting and are arguably the best email hosts for small businesses, so you probably don't need to pay for another host.
Cloud storage. You might be paying for Box or Dropbox, outside of your main software bundle, but Microsoft 365 offers 1 terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage across all plans. Google Workspace offers 30 gigabytes (GB) of Google Drive storage in its cheapest plan, 2TB in its standard plan, and unlimited storage for enterprise customers.
And there's more.
Google Workspace comes with Forms, which can replace all kinds of apps.
Microsoft 365 has OneNote, which is an excellent alternative to Evernote.
Google Workspace comes with Sites, which can build quick (if simple) websites.
I could go on.
Now, this can sometimes work in the other direction. For example, Dropbox offers Paper, a Google Docs alternative that can also handle task management. That means you might not need a project management app if you're already paying for Dropbox.
It might still be worth paying for things
There are reasons you would opt to pay for a seemingly redundant app. For example, it might seem like no Google Workspace customer should pay for Slack or Zoom, but that's not necessarily the case.
Here at Zapier, we pay for all three. Slack is core to how we do work, offers plenty of features that Chat doesn't, and at this point, migrating would be a Herculean task. We'll be paying for Slack for the foreseeable future, even though we also pay for Workspace. The same goes for Zoom: it works better for us than Google Meet because there's less lag in large meetings.
So my point isn't that it's nonsense to pay for an app if you're already paying for a bundle. Just that it's worth looking into what you're already paying for before you start paying for something new.