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There are a number of companies who make products to manage software updates throughout an organization: Numara Patch Manager, Lumension Patch & Mediation, and my favorite, Shavlik NetChk Protect. Microsoft's WSUS only goes part of the way to keeping your workstations "homogenized".
Does it cost money that your company may have not budgeted for? Likely. But will it save you time, and make you available to handle other more important issues? Definitely. The worst way to treat IT is for the department to be like Paramedics, always rushing into emergency situations and applying bandages to stop the bleeding. It's far better to be proactive wherever possible.