As the name suggests, “shelfware” refers to software that is purchased but not implemented or used. The unfortunate reality is that many businesses, armed with the best of intentions, spend millions on software designed to offer more efficiency, visibility, ROI, and more—only to have that software never be utilized to its full potential and gather dust on a shelf. A recent study by IDC showed that 93% of organizations waste money on shelfware, and another study showed that as much as 37% of all software purchases in the US wound up as shelfware. No matter the bells and whistles, any piece of software is at risk of becoming shelfware if the company purchasing it does not (1) know exactly what it needs and (2) thoroughly screen potential vendors. Here’s what to know and what questions to ask yourself to avoid having your software turn into shelfware.
Why does software end up on the shelf?Too often, attention is focused on making a purchasing decision, but once the software is purchased, attention turns elsewhere. Sometimes, when new software is purchased, having an excess or lack of licenses or features can also create major roadblocks on implementation. In the case of security software, sometimes too much emphasis is placed on compliance instead of security, which can result in unawareness of what the software can really do and a trade-off of shelfware in place of audit risk. Additionally, less scrupulous vendors may be incentivized to sell you a product you don’t need or don’t have the capacity to implement. That’s why GDT takes the time to really get to know what our customers need from their software, so that you can avoid losing out on software that just sits on the shelf.
What does the data say?How much is your software being used? Who is using it? What is and isn’t causing trouble? Data can reveal pain points with software, along with potential gaps in training and non-users who don’t need licenses. Consider who ultimately uses the software and have some of them evaluate the software against core use cases before it is purchased and implemented. If users don’t adopt core features early on, they certainly won’t adopt additional features later on. Sometimes taking a deep dive into data may show that the problem lies in standard builds, the default selection of apps installed for new users, who may not actually need every installed application. Need help interpreting the data? Engage a specialized team that understands the pitfalls of adoption, such as GDT’s CX and Lifecycle experts, to analyze this data and recommend fixes.
How many licenses and annuals renewals do you have?Often, enterprises have licenses that automatically renew at different times, and understanding what software is being used, when it renews, etc. can help avoid redundancies. By having a full understanding of usage data and renewal information for each piece of software, you can ensure that the number of licenses you hold for each piece of software is reflective of what you actually need. Enterprise Licensing Agreements can help co-term renewals to simplify procurement and software spend. GDT’s goal is to help customers review consumption data throughout the term of the agreement to understand the ROI on what was purchased, which helps make renewal decisions easier.
Do you have a roadmap for adoption?If you don’t have a roadmap for your technology journey, how will you know when you get there? GDT has found that sometimes organizations will purchase licenses but not deploy them in a timely manner. That’s why we created our CX strategy as a roadmap/adoption plan that helps our customers stay on target to maximize the ROI on licenses purchased. Internally, it is also helpful for your organization to have someone own the rollout to ensure training and metrics are given proper priority among competing interests.
By considering adoption as the primary goal of a software purchase, instead of focusing on solely acquisition or deployment, purchasing shelfware can be avoided. Even a best-in-class tool can wind up as shelfware if the end user hasn’t been sufficiently trained on how to use it or doesn’t understand what it can do. Realizing real ROI happens only when end users fully understand and utilize the tools at their disposal.
At GDT, we’ve always delivered products and services with a Customer-First Focus. If you have questions about the GDT CX experience, click here to email me. I’d love to hear from you!