Business success is increasingly contingent upon IT productivity. Almost every new business initiative has a core IT component—whether that component is mining Big Data or rolling out a new mobile app. Yet IT budgets are not growing proportionally to this increased demand. So for the business to achieve what it needs to achieve, IT has to become much more productive.

IT is responding to this productivity pressure in several ways. It’s streamlining processes using disciplines such as ITIL and DevOps. It’s embracing the cloud to get more value from infrastructure budgets. IT staffs are also working longer and harder without getting paid more.

There is, however, one significant impediment to greater IT productivity—and, by extension, business success—that many IT leaders often neglect: bad software.

Most IT leaders don’t think of the software tools their staffs use to manage the enterprise IT environment as “bad.” After all, that software was evaluated before it was acquired, and it seems to do what it is supposed to do.

But software tools can deliver required functionality and still be bad—in particular by having a poor user experience. And that poor user experience undermines IT productivity every day.

The problems with bad software begin even prior to deployment. Enterprise IT tools are often difficult to evaluate and pilot. IT staffs wind up spending an extraordinary amount of time trying to install these tools in order to “play” with them long enough to decide whether they’re worth acquiring. Because it’s so difficult and time-consuming to do so, those evaluations are often incomplete. So buying decisions are made without sufficient information.

Worse yet, the sunk costs represented by an extended evaluation effort make it hard for IT buyers to walk away from a prospective purchase. So they often buy tools that aren’t all that wonderful.

Then comes deployment. Anyone with first-hand IT experience knows how time-consuming that can be. Installation, configuration and tuning are often major time-sinks riddled with trial and error. Poorly designed interfaces add to the problem by requiring extended learning curves before IT staffs get full benefit from the tool—assuming they really ever do so at all. And that learning curve gets repeated every time there’s staff turnover.

Bad software then keeps draining IT productivity over time with kludgy upgrades, poorly documented new features and opaque reconfiguration procedures.

These are not just problems for IT. When skilled IT staff gets bogged down in the evaluation, implementation and operation of its own tools, it has less time to do what the business genuinely needs it to do. This is a non-trivial concern in a world where even small delays in IT’s responsiveness can cumulatively have substantial adverse impact on business performance.

That’s why every IT leader should take software quality—including the quality of the IT user’s experience—more seriously than ever. Businesses simply can’t afford to have their IT staffs burdened with bad software any longer.