Shelfware: The Secret Cost of Unused Software

Thoughtful young programmer checking on a softwareDo you know that your organization has probably wasted a substantial amount of your software budget without anyone realizing it? Some of it you could be due to your collection of shelfware, or software that you have but don’t need. If you don’t manage your SaaS vendors and subscriptions well, you might be wasting money that could be used in other resources.

What is Shelfware?

Shelfware is essentially software or SaaS tool that you bought but haven’t used or have used only for a short time. Keep in mind that the shelfware does not necessarily mean the software is flawed because even the most feature-packed or advanced software applications could be shelfware. You probably subscribed to a SaaS service or bought a software license to take care of a specific need. But as technology progresses, a single software could offer many features or applications that your old software could become shelfware.

When you purchase more software licenses than what you need, you could be wasting company resources. For instance, if a license costs $120 and you need 50, you need to pay $6000. But then you’re offered a discounted price of $55, but you have to purchase 100 to get the discount. If you go with the discounted price even if you don’t need the extra 50 licenses, the extra 50 licenses become shelfware. You’re losing money when you use this strategy every time you buy software.

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Another reason is forgetting about your SaaS subscriptions. It doesn’t matter if you pay $15 or $75 for a subscription as long as you use it, but what if you don’t and still you continue to pay for them? Also, some organizations buy licenses for their future employees, which is unnecessary because until someone uses it, it is only shelfware.

The main point is that the lack of tracking, inefficient allocation, and poor communication could lead to accumulated shelfware, which translates to wasted money over time.

Can You Avoid Shelfware?

You could choose the right software applications and SaaS subscriptions that your organization needs when you receive input from your staff whether these applications and their updates are needed. If you could address these issues before you purchase anything, then you could avoid collecting shelfware. In addition, make sure that you monitor your software and SaaS subscriptions, manage your SaaS vendors, and know when to keep a software application and when to terminate a license or subscription.