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>>How to Avoid The ShelfWare Syndrome?

How to Avoid The ShelfWare Syndrome?

By | 2017-11-22T16:08:01+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Common services|

Do you know that?

  • 93% of the organizations are wasting piles of money on unused or underused application software, otherwise known as « shelfware ».  
  • “20% of the organizations reported a loss over 1m$.” (source: Flexera)

 In the real life:

CIO: We have the shelfware syndrome! Is it bad, doctor?

Doctor: it could have been worse: it is not vaporware… The shelfware syndrome is common and can be cured.

CIO: what can we do?

Doctor : Shelfware means that you acquired and sometimes installed software, that is not used any more. It is a big loss, but it has been lost already… There is nothing we can do about it: Try to understand where and how you caught it to avoid any relapse in the future.

Do you know that the troubleshooting, visibility, NPM, APM and monitoring are directly impacted by this plague?

Performance Vision pays special attention to making sure the disease does not infect its partners and customers, we thought it would be worth sharing some of that thinking with you!

Top 5 reasons for monitoring tools to end up on a shelf

1- Not used often enough

You ordered software for a specific use case: this u
se case is obsolete and / or is
so unfrequent that your team does not have enough practice to fluently use the solution.

2- Too complex

Although it may be powerful, a solution cannot be complex, unless it is mission critical (and deserves massive training and attention) and frequently used. Any solution which is too complex and not mission critical will end up being used by a very restricted group of users or, sometimes,… no one.

3- One person business

When a solution is
mostly used by one person (for a niche utilization), beware that in case this person moves on to another role, job or company, there is a huge chance no one will pick up on the administration of the solution soon enough to maintain its use.

4- Focused on one project

Many troubleshooting, monitoring, visibility solutions get
purchased for a specific situation (critical issue  with a key application roll out, infrastructure migration, merger). In that case, there is a huge risk that once this project has been released… the solution is not used any more.

5- IT pace of change

With faster than ever corporate (merger, acquisitions, etc.), business (new services, new applications) and technical pace of change (DevOps, Dynamic infrastructure), many solutions become obsolete for 2 reasons:
  • They are not fit for next generation infrastructures (e.g. physical appliances in virtual and cloud data centers) and cannot easily be redeployed in these environments.
  • They work on configuration that requires many man hours and … should be changed frequently.
  • They do not easily scale up (upgrading requires a new integration, changing the complete installation, losing history, etc…)

Best practices: Focus on the later stage of the lifecycle of your solutions

What should I do to avoid the “infection”?
 You need to develop a
 Vision of how the product will live, benefit to your operations and by whom it will be used day-to-day. 
When looking for new solutions, your due diligence must go beyond features and capabilities advertised and even demonstrated in PoC / Evaluations; you need to figure out how your team is going to use the solution day-to-day, what it is going to be used for and by whom.

How to Stay safe from shelfware

Getting your team and your tools working together is key to staying away from Shelfware.
Here are some simple recommendations to make sure you are not impacted:

1- Used by teams / across teams

The wider the use of a solution, the more use cases it addresses, the higher the chances that the solution remains in use and delivers / exceeds your ROI expectations.
You should avoid having tools used by a single person and as much as possible try to increase the tools’ usage by multiple teams (telecom, network, system, helpdesk, QA, etc.)

2- Easy to use – easy on boarding

  • What is the effort required for a user / administrator, to learn to use the solution and become efficient in delivering his/her tasks with it? What are the skills required to leverage the solution?
  • Do you have to be an expert? Will there always be experts of that field in-house?
  • What is the cost of restricting the use of a solution to experts only?
An easy on boarding is key to widen the group of users of a visibility solution and strengthening its R.O.I.

3- Minimize the configuration work required

What is going to be the cost of every change?
As an example, suppose you want to monitor a new application: how much time is required to get visibility on it?
  • Instantly (you get that visibility without any prior action)
  • 1-5 minutes
  • 1-4 hours
  • Several days
These are questions you should consider before acquiring a solution, to qualify what the cost / workload of maintaining the solution up to speed with your IT changes will be.

4- « Doing the job » is not enough: should make the job easier and minimize workload

During your analysis phase, you should not only consider the data you are getting from the tool (or you can get from the tool) but also how much effort and time is required to get the answer and what skills are required to get them.
Remember that a lot of troubleshooting cases with complex to use solutions do not only take time… but are
in the end abandoned after a long time investment. 

5- From a one-off fire-fighting to daily operations

Firefighting a long lasting – strong impact performance issue is a common and legitimate reason to acquire a troubleshooting / monitoring solution, which was until then missing. The case showed the lack of it and implementing a solution is probably a good response.
The use of the solution (and its ROI) will continue, if and only if it is used as part of your daily IT operations to reduce MTTR on a regular basis and handle changes such as change in capacities, roll-outs and migrations.

6- Temporary need, use a temporary service

If you have a punctual need and feel you have too limited resources and skills in-house, you should consider
buying a service from a specialized service company rather than investing into something your team will not exploit at its maximum.

7- Vendor’s focus on customer success

how the vendor / integrator will help on making sure the solution is actually delivering ROI.

You should ask questions on how your vendor / integrator can help overcome the challenge of

  • How can you help us train newcomers?
  • How can you make sure our solution remains aligned to new use cases and new infrastructure / application configurations?
  • How much effort will this require? how about costs?
  • What pourcentage of your customers renew their maintenance and keep using your solutions?
  • What processes have you got in place to maximize this?
  • How can I upgrade? revamp the solution for a newer configuration? what are the conditions and costs attached to that?

For every project, we ask ourselves these questions; do not hesitate to engage with us to discuss this further.

If you lack skills, resources, have a temporary need or need to take a new perspective to avoid falling into shelfware , we advise you take a look at how you can use Performance Vision as a service


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