The software an organization’s IT staff provides can directly impact overall performance. Unfortunately, technology leaders often neglect software deployment best practices, investing time and effort in shopping for new products instead of optimizing those already in use.

As a result, the organization realizes fewer benefits and a lower return on investment — even on good software purchases.

In CDW’s software development practice, we see software positioning mistakes too frequently. It is time to end those mistakes. Let’s look at the top five software deployment errors organizations make and explore how to fix them.

1. Wrong-Sized Infrastructure

Software utilization can affect server, storage and network performance. IT leaders who don’t provision enough resources to support new software integrations face diminished results.

Cloud computing can help solve infrastructure sizing issues because cloud providers can add capacity as needed to meet changing demands. However, extensive cloud use — even a turnkey Software as a Service (SaaS) solution — can strain an organization’s Internet connection.

Pro tip: Carefully assess the impact of any new software deployment on infrastructure and the future needs that software may require over its lifecycle.

2. Bad Licenses

Software buyers sometimes fall into a trap: They purchase inexpensive software, believing it will save the organization money, but often overlook the corresponding licensing costs.

Poor alignment between licensing and deployment leads many organizations to pay for more software than users need. According to the Everest Group, 61 percent of small business IT leaders say that 10 percent of their software entitlements are underutilized, which wastes money. Managing the ratio of licenses to employees and licensing compliance can be a delicate balancing act.

Pro tip: Structure licenses to pay for what is used. Monitor utilization over time to keep costs aligned with software use as it changes.

3. Vague Adoption Instructions

Most computer-savvy users can work instantly with well-designed applications. Of course, that does not mean every user understands how to get the most out of every software solution.

IT leaders make a mistake when they deploy software without giving users guidance on how they should use it for work. That’s why months after a big software spend, users may not be taking full advantage of new software.

Pro tip: Make adoption activities — including user training, clearly communicated support from upper management, gamification and performance reviews — integral to software deployment plans.

4. Shadow IT

SaaS and mobile applications make it easier for users to bring software into an organization without the knowledge or consent of IT staff. Known as shadow IT, this practice puts IT leaders in a position where they try to roll out one solution, but users have already embraced another.

Shadow IT can also drive up costs. Different groups in an organization may acquire software under different license agreements, forcing IT staff to integrate applications that may not be compatible.

Pro tip: Take the time to discover staff software purchases and consider the motivations behind them.

5. Scattered Data

Applications generate data that create value for organizations. Big Data analytics have become strategically important for customer engagement and strategic decision-making.

Ad hoc approaches to application deployment, however, can make it difficult for IT to keep track of and access disparate data from multiple applications. This is especially true of poorly thought-out cloud deployments that scatter data in different places and formats.

Pro tip: When deploying a new application, think about how to store the associated data — and how stakeholders will access it.