New software is gathering dust on the shelves of the UK's IT departments for six months before IT managers even begin deploying it, and many organisations then take another six months to finish rolling it out, according to a new survey from Vanson Bourne.

The survey was sponsored by Enteo Software, which makes automated systems for software rollout and maintenance. The causes of the money-wasting delays are down to a disproportionate amount of time spent on supporting end users and on the need to manually install and update software, the survey found.

"When you consider that companies spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on new software, not to mention the associated costs such as licensing, this is a worrying trend," said Enteo managing director Stephan Glathe in a statement. "IT is meant to underpin and drive business performance but the research would indicate that this isn't happening."

Of the 135 IT managers surveyed, 69 percent left newly purchased software untouched for six months, and an even larger majority - 85 percent - took at least a further six months to deploy software, meaning a delay of at least a year for many organisations.

The figures roughly corresponded to the 71 percent of IT managers who said they spent over half their time on end-user support, and the one in five who said they spent three-quarters of their time on support.

The time and effort needed to deploy software was also a factor in the delays, with 29 percent of IT managers saying they have to manually install new software. The figure rose to 41 percent for companies of up to 3,000 employees, Enteo said.