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The real cost of unused software will shock you

Jen A. Miller | Jan. 21, 2016
A new study shows that, on average, each computer in every office around the world has about US$259 of unnecessary, unwanted or unused software on it. That’s a lot of shelfware – and it’s costing companies big-time.

Let's say the business unit buys the software anyway. It might not work with the systems IT already has in place. If they install it themselves, they may do it wrong. If IT doesn't want to support it, then it's not used right. On the flip side, how about if IT chooses software based on the back-end? Then it may not fit the business unit's needs, or it might be too complicated for them to understand, so they don't use it. Either way, money goes out the door on something that doesn't address the problem it was supposed to solve. 

They key, says Reese, is communication and compromise, led at the CIO level, because while your IT department might understand what a business unit needs to do, the business unit isn't going to understand the technical aspect of their software choices, and why what they think looks nice to them might be a disaster. If not, "it's a lot of wasted money, time, frustration and 'I told you so's,'" he says. 

Buy and use better

Doing an evaluation of how software and licenses are being used can also help you reallocate or cut back. "That's a purchase avoidance opportunity," says Neal of 1E. "You reclaim money in cutting your future purchase budget." 

Understanding what a business unit needs, so the company makes the right purchases, can save in the long run too, even if it means making a less technically worthy program work, for the sake of the business unit. 

"It's incumbent on IT to understand how this software is going to be used and how it is going to meet the business needs of the company," Reese says. Besides, he adds, no matter what the reason for a wrong purchase, IT's going to get blamed anyway. Better to save money — and frustration — up front.


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