It’s almost over, this terrible, awful, no-good year is almost over. Let’s have a recap:

  • Plague
  • Famine
  • Economic collapse
  • Pestilence
  • Violence
  • Murder Hornets

Did I get everything? Probably not but that’s all behind us now. It’s a new year and hopefully, hopefully, it will be better than the last. Last year around January, I wrote a piece about where MetrixData thought 2020 was going and a few predictions we had about trends we were noticing in the tech industry. At the time, COVID was just an outbreak in China that was steadily inching closer to my hometown. Then March struck and that piece got sidelined real quick because the future was suddenly very dark and unpredictable. Now, we’re still stuck in that turbulent time, and rolling with the punches is our only strategy because who knows what’s next? At MetrixData 360, we thought this year we’d give our tentative outlook for 2021, with a lot of wriggle room in case 2021 is as full of surprises as last year. So, what does 2021 have to throw at us after the chaotic dumpster fire that was 2020?

2021 Risks to Think About

There are a few worse case scenarios that must be taken into consideration when forecasting 2021. While 2020 has proven that it’s always best to keep an open mind about what will happen next, a few of the worst-case scenarios that could possibly play out include:

  • The virus may not be under control by the end of 2020: the thought of a second year of lockdown is enough to make you cry, but it is a reality that must be taken into consideration. If an effective vaccine is not out by 2021, then that means that we might face a third or fourth wave followed by the appropriate restrictions and lockdowns. This will further postpone economic recovery and resuming our normal lives. Even if a working vaccine is announced, it will take months to distribute and to assess its effectiveness.
  • COVID mentality will not be shaken off so easily: There will likely be a transition period, while people shake off that 2020 storm-weathering mentality. Many people may choose to remain remote for fear of contracting the virus. While local tourism might increase out of a desperate desire to get out of lockdown, far-flung holidays to remote locations may be postponed until 2022 for fear of being stranded overseas. Many people and businesses will find themselves staying afloat financially only by the skin of their teeth, and for some people, their jobs will not be coming back after COVID, and so will be either unwilling or unable to flaunt any spending money.
  • 2021 recession or rebound: It might be important to keep that storm-weathering mentality and hunker down for a 2021 recession, which some economists are predicting. The US dollar has a 50% chance of doing a double-dip recession by the end of 2021. Although other economists are predicting the economy will ramp back up as businesses open again, deals that were postponed are picked up again and employees who were laid off during the pandemic are sent back to work.
Related: Want to learn how to save money on software during COVID? You can watch our video on how to save money during a pandemic.

As you can see, a lot can happen in the upcoming year, we may not be out of these treacherous waters just yet, but what kinds of things can we expect without any unexpected turns?

Tentative Return to Work

Many companies are expected to be heading back to work either on a partial basis or in a manner that allows employees to effectively social distance. If companies were not already on the Cloud when the pandemic struck, there was a hasty adjustment period, where companies scrambled to assemble some kind of Cloud infrastructure that would allow them to keep their business running, forcing companies to technologically jump several years ahead. Since a Cloud migration is typically seen as an expensive endeavor, it’s unlikely that going back to the office will result in a complete dismantling of their efforts. So, the Cloud platforms will likely stay, which could easily lead to a more flexible work environment for employees. Many analysts predict that our working situation in 2021 will look more like 2020 than 2019, as those who enjoyed working online will most likely push to remain so. What this means is that companies will now have a global pool of candidates to pick from while also have to compete for good candidates on a global scale with other companies.

Aggressive Audits

The software industry took a definite plunge over the past year, with sales reaching a vicious low when it came to licenses. The exception to this rule of course, was telecom software, with both Zoom and Microsoft’s Teams taking off in popularity. Despite this growth, many software companies experienced significant losses in 2020. This means we will most likely be seeing an aggressive wave of software audits soon. The software vendors also demonstrated significant generosity towards their customers during the pandemic, with free offers, customer packaging, and a hold on true-ups and negotiations. However, their generosity will be coming to a close soon, so it is important you clean your profiles of any programs whose free trials have expired and get started in preparing to meet a far less generous software vendor during your next true-up.

Related: Don’t let the software auditors catch you off guard with our Software Audit Checklist

IT Security Threats on the Rise

The swift migration to the Cloud during the beginning of the pandemic resulted in a lot of hasty constructions of the cloud infrastructure, basically, they just needed the bare minimum to get going. What this has left us with are platforms that may not be the most secure. Think of all the businesses that couldn’t provide their workers with their own unique devices and those employees were forced to use their own laptops, which may easily be dated or perhaps already burdened with barely contained malware. It is suspected that 2021 will see cybersecurity being one of the many daunting challenges companies will have to face, such as an increase in Ransomware attempts, phishing, and IoT attacks will all increase as businesses struggle to protect their new cloud environments.

Related: Protect your Software Environment with our article, How SAM Can Improve Your Cyber Security

Get Ready for 2021 with MetrixData 360

2021 is upon us and as we leave this awful year behind it is important to keep looking ahead and prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Nothing prepares you better than having a software environment that is organized and under control. At MetrixData 360, we provide our customers with the ability to sleep easy at night, knowing their software environment is compliant and cost-effective.

About Mike Austin

Mike Austin is the CEO and team lead here at MetrixData 360. Mike brings more than 15 years of Microsoft licensing experience to his clients’ projects. He assists companies with negotiations of Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA), Premier Support Contracts, and Select Agreements, from Fortune 500 to organizations with as few as 500 employees. Mike's vast experience across multiple industries including financial services, high tech, manufacturing, media, health care, government, and retail give him an edge in any business environment. In addition to helping negotiate contracts, he assists clients with creating and implementing software asset management processes to prevent over-purchasing of licenses and ensures terms and conditions reflect actual usage.