Enterprise IT and Shelfware

Shelfware is IT industry slang for computer software that an organization buys because of a perceived need, gap, or demand but never uses; hence, it sits on a shelf.

A recent four year study revealed that computers in offices worldwide, on average, have around $259 of unused, unneeded, or unnecessary software installed. Yikes. That’s a lot of money being wasted.

But shelfware isn’t just limited to individual licenses installed on end user devices. It also impacts entire IT departments when enterprise-level technology purchases go unused and underutilized.

A CIO’s Insight

One forward thinking CIO and blogger, Will Weider, of Affinity Health System in Appleton, Wis., puts it best: “In my 10+ years as a CIO, it is painful to see how many IT purchases turn into shelfware.”

He even gives the IT behavior/tendency a name, similar to what you might image a health epidemic being identified as, and calls it “The Barbie Syndrome”.

Excerpt of his blog post:

“As a father of two girls, I have observed that when they are in a toy store they seem to forget the closet full of Barbies and accessories back home. The Barbie on the store shelf is always more desirable than the one in their closet. Like those girls, we seem to think that the systems we don’t own are much more appealing than those we already own.

Too often we are lured to purchase new systems, somehow forgetting the closet of systems that we already own that are awaiting our attention.”

Changing The Mindset

As technology rapidly changes, improves, and evolves so do the needs of most organizations. In fact, it’s not uncommon to juggle dozens of software requests on a monthly basis from well intentioned end users, executives, and even IT staff who saw ‘this really cool tech/software/functionality we just have to have’.

(In full disclosure, sometimes IT is the worst offender. We truly enjoy being wowed by all the bells and whistles — fancy new features and functionality is cool!)

So when end users are in the mix we understand how your balancing on the tight rope of being an open place to share and discuss new technologies with the reality of budget and support constraints. Shadow IT challenges and concerns are real.

But when it comes to enterprise IT solutions, Wedier raises a great point for us to consider. Instead of first moving in the often more expensive and time consuming direction of buying new software or, a total rip-and replace, we can — sometimes, shift to a mindset of nurturing, turbo-charging or enhancing existing investments.

Take Stock of Existing Platforms and Services

So, before you take the plunge and buy your brand spankin’ new enterprise software solution, I challenge you to do one thing… access you existing arsenal.

This is much easier said than done. Take the time to fully understand what you already own. What is being underutilized or unexploited? What isn’t upgraded? What investments can be further extended or maximized? Is there an add-on or existing integration that could solve this problem?

There are many instances that new technology is the best fit, but whenever possible, updating and leveraging your existing solutions can greatly minimize your organizations expenses and reduce overall implementation risks.

We’re Experts Here

Our company, INVICTA SOFTWARE, was founded on the mission to simplify IT. We think great solutions can be affordable, easy-to-use, and powerful.

The space that we play in — IT service management, is particularly known for its pricey software, complex methodologies, and excruciatingly long deployments.

We’re here to change that. We’ve created industry unique integrations that enable teams to extend and maximize existing investments like they never thought possible. Take, for instance, LANDESK Management Suite. It’s industry leading endpoint management capabilities can truly empower level one and two service desk technicians. Remote control, inventory, software distribution… all from within an open ticket using INVICTADesk for LANDesk.

You can explore our numerous integrations with other enterprise management solutions, including Microsoft SCCM, at www.invictasoftware.com.

Time and time again we meet IT teams lacking the tools and resources they need to rapidly and effectively get their job done. Trouble is, many times they already own powerful tool sets, they just don’t have controlled access or know about them.

The Bottom Line

What I’m suggesting is to exploit your existing investments, when and where it makes sense, before you run out and buy a new solution. It’s a win-win for all.


Established in 2014, INVICTA SOFTWARE is a leading provider of IT service management solutions to small and medium size organizations worldwide. Focusing on solutions that take the best of ITIL and operational best practices, INVICTA SOFTWARE offers best-of-breed solutions in the areas of asset management, desktop systems management, service desk management, and password reset.

With rock solid partnerships, a proven executive team, and a reputation for innovative solutions and affordable technologies, INVICTA SOFTWARE is uniquely poised for exponential growth.

Headquartered in San Francisco, INVICTA SOFTWARE continues to expand globally, establishing presence throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Visit www.invictasoftware.com for more information.