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Growing IT budgets lead to shelfware: Flexera Software

Although businesses are currently investing heavily in software, a significant portion of that new technology investment is being wasted and even mismanaged, according to a new study by software license optimisation vendor, Flexera Software.

In its 2012 Key Trends in Software Pricing and Licensing Survey, which polled 334 software vendors, intelligent device manufacturers, and enterprise executives, it found that a big problem emerging within growing IT budgets is unused software, or shelfware.

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The study was commissioned by Flexera Software and conducted by IDC.

It showed that although 44 per cent of respondents indicated their software budgets would increase over the next 18 to 24 months, 56 per cent said 11 per cent or more of their software spend is associated with shelfware.

This is up from 49 per cent last year.

IDC said the market for packaged software was about $325 billion in 2011, suggesting that the global overspend on shelfware could be staggering.

Flexera Software corporate development vice-president, Steve Schmidt, said businesses have become experts in leveraging software to offset leaner staff in this economic downturn, but they've developed a blind spot.

"Investing heavily in efficiency-creating technologies like software without really understanding how to ensure this critical asset is being optimally used. Consequently, an unacceptable proportion of that expenditure is wasted," he said.

The study also revealed that companies are aware of their expensive shelfware bloat.

A third of respondents indicated they are dissatisfied with their current method for managing software licenses and usage.

Respondents also admitted to not having the right systems in place to ensure optimised use of their software -- almost a third of them do not apply product-use rights to optimise their software use.

"The lesson is clear. Leveraging high tech assets like software in order to drive efficiencies and cut costs is critical for any company. But software is a complex asset to maintain, and organisations have to be smart about it.

"If they're not up to the task of implementing the processes and technology to optimise their software use, they likely will be wasting much of the efficiency gains software enables by creating shelfware bloat," Schmidt added.


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