It is interesting that we work in an industry which has developed such a bad reputation for overselling that the term “shelfware” was coined. According to a poll, which was conducted by IE Software, companies in the U.S. spend $12.3 billion per year on maintenance for software that nobody actually uses. Every organization has shelfware, which generally refers to software that has been purchased but never used. However, not everyone realizes that this unused software could pose potential quality or security risks, which in turn impact both customer satisfaction and brand reputation.
For example, what if the software in question is intended to check your code for potential security issues? If you (or your organization) are developing a customer-facing web application and buy a software testing solution for code assurance, you want to make sure that it is actually being used and that it is an integral part of your development cycle. Why would you purchase software that enables you to build security in at the code level, yet not use it?
To understand shelfware better, it is helpful to recognize that buyers are just as responsible for this situation as sellers. Organizations often bulk-buy licenses for software and services with little additional consideration or outside research. As a result, they seldom consider the real cost or purpose of this software until it is too late. They also tend to invest in future enterprise rollouts of big business applications, although typically only a small amount of the licenses purchased (and in some cases zero) actually are used.
If you are in charge of a development organization, shelfware should definitely matter to you. With that in mind, here are five tips for avoiding shelfware:
Having a deployment plan for your software is important when it comes to shelfware, so make sure that you stick to that plan. Remember this the next time that you have gone through the stress and experience of buying a software solution, and know that you are prepared and have a process in place.
[This article was syndicated with permission from development testing company, Coverity. Coverity is the trusted standard for companies that need to protect their brands and bottom lines from software failures. More than 1,100 Coverity customers use the Coverity Development Testing Platform to automatically test source code for software defects that could lead to product crashes, unexpected behavior, security breaches or catastrophic failure. Coverity is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco.]