(Expensive) shelfware

Sep 24, 2018

Do you have a gazillion underused software programs languishing on computers across your firm? If you do, you’re certainly not alone.

Shelfware, or unused software, is said to cost companies roughly $30 billion per year in the U.S. alone, according to a 2016 study. The average desktop computer contains roughly $259 per year in wasted software. In a time of shrinking margins and increased competition, every dollar counts.

Most software contracts are easy to sign but difficult to get out of. Is your firm paying for unused seats, licenses, overages, upgrades, and unused features? You’re not alone. According to the study, companies with fewer than 2,000 employees were the most wasteful, clocking in at a waste rate of 41 percent.

A big reason why companies purchase software they don’t need is that the company’s leadership is not on the same page. There’s no communication at the top.

One of our primary goals when creating ProjectBoss was to eliminate the need for firms to use, and pay a lot of money for, multiple software programs to solve their project and business management needs. We took a hard look at what software programs were being used by firms to manage their day-to-day businesses. Most of them were using five to 10 different programs – some purchased, some custom developed – simply to do things such as track projects, fill out timesheets, generate reports, manage documents, and more.

For instance, our first client (and the inspiration behind ProjectBoss), BDG Architects of Tampa, Florida, was using at least seven different software programs to manage their projects and their business:

  • Sharepoint for sharing and storing drawings and client documents
  • Shared hard drive for storing internal company documents and templates
  • Dropbox to share contract related documents with clients
  • An inflexible custom-built web application to track projects
  • A custom-built employee status web application to track the location of employees
  • Microsoft Project was used by some project managers to track projects
  • Microsoft Excel was used by other managers to track projects
  • Excel to manage and forecast resource allocation
  • Excel to generate project reports

The cost of these programs was in the tens of thousands of dollars per year. Not to mention the costs associated with the lost productivity and efficiency from using so many different tools to operate their business.

Increasing the margins and profitability of your firm could be as easy as eliminating wasteful software spending and replacing your current band-aid software approach with a cloud-based, easy to use end-to-end solution such as ProjectBoss.

Mark Little has nearly 20 years of experience in the technology arena, primarily as a software engineer. He is a co-founder and the chief technology officer at ProjectBoss, a sponsor of the 2018 Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference. He can be reached at mark@projectboss.net or at 302.521.8065.

Subscribe to The Zweig Letter for free.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.