Beware the Shelf-Ware

May 8, 2017



As you can imagine, I deal with a lot of clients, who have a lot of different software systems. There’s nothing wrong with that but the part of it that always staggers me is how much of it is “Shelf-Ware”. Shelf-Ware, for those of you who don’t know, is software you spend a ton of money on but it winds up sitting on the shelf because you never had the time, training, or assistance to implement it. What confuses me most is that Shelf-Ware is totally avoidable. The key is partnering with a reliable software consultant (yes, that’s my not so subtle plug for ZenTek!) All you need is a partner who is interested in the success of your business as much as they are the sale of the software. In the long run, if you don’t succeed, you’re not going to have the desire (or the money) to continue to work with me moving forward. Simple logic, right? Strangely, a lot of our competition don’t see it that way.


Let me give you an example. We’re a Bluebeam Revu reseller here at ZenTek. As a regular part of our process, we offer training classes, free webinars, and regular “tips” to Bluebeam users. Whenever we send out an email about a Bluebeam event, I get dozens of firms reaching out to me because they’re desperate to learn how to use the system they’ve already purchased. When I ask why they need so much help with something they already have, they all give me the same answer: “Well, we bought it and our vendor just gave us a PDF and a few links. They said the Help utility would show us how to use it . . .” As a software reseller, that answer makes me cringe, every time. Whatever you’re buying, or renewing, you need to make sure the company you buy from is an experienced user of the software and able to provide you with the support you need to make it work. If you’ve been working with “box droppers” who take your money and you never hear from again, you need to look closely at who you’re dealing with.


One thing I push hard for when I sell any software is a follow-on training and support contract. Now, you may be thinking: “Of course you do, you want the extra money!” and, to an extent, you’re right. We’re in business to make money, just like you, but at the end of the day it’s just as important that you can genuinely use what you just bought from me. I run into clients who turn a skeptical eye on me when I push for training. They give me the “We can figure it out ourselves” line and I’ll bow to their wishes but I’d say that 90%+ of them wind up calling me back in under a month to help with training and setup. Think of it like this . . . would you buy an airplane without also getting some flying lessons? That’s an awful expensive hanger decoration you’re about to have!


So, to sum it up – if you’re not getting the support you need to avoid Shelf-Ware, you might want to give ZenTek a call. From Microsoft Operating systems, to advanced document control systems, we’re here to help!


Jim C.



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