SAM After COVID-19
Right now, it may seem like there’s no end to this COVID-19 madness, but with small glimmers of light at the end of this dark tunnel fast approaching, it’s important to consider what the other side of this pandemic will look like for businesses. According to Research and Market’s book, Software Asset Management – Market Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts, Software Asset Management was expected to grow by USD$2.1 billion worldwide, although that was before the world turned upside-down. While these exact numbers may no longer be the case, in a pandemic, software asset management is still expected to become a major asset for companies wishing to drive down their software costs.
At MetrixData 360, we’ve been demonstrating our knowledge as software asset management experts for seven years now, and we thought we’d share how we expect the software world to change once COVID-19 comes to an end.
For the Short Term
Welcome to the Cloud
Businesses were already packing up and moving to the Cloud to take advantage of the flexibility and the freeing up of resources it provides even before the pandemic struck. However, when COVID-19 swept the global stage, companies either had to figure out a way to keep their employees working remotely, file as an essential service, or essentially shut down. This has left companies scrambling to get into the online Cloud business quickly – on both sides of the aisle. Video Conferencing Channels are booming, Zoom for instance has received more downloads of their product in these past few months than they saw during all of 2019.
With employees still meeting targets at home even without checking in at the office, it offers a great argument for remote work, that you don’t necessarily have to clock your employees’ productivity by the number of hours they sit at their desk. Remote work could very easily pick up in popularity, which raises the question – are you ready for the Cloud?
There can be issues with moving to the Cloud, especially when the transition is rushed. Such issues like improperly sized instances and licensing metric changes can cause an unexpected spike in costs.
What this means for SAM is that monitoring Cloud usage and spending will become a bigger priority as COVID-19 continues into the summer.
At the SAM Summit in Chicago, presenters pointed out that most companies see 35% of wastage when it comes to their Cloud profile. Getting such unneeded spending under control should be the priority for many companies in the upcoming months. This wastage comes from the complexity and variety of Cloud pricing models, the lack of control over provisioning, and the constant stream of system updates.
The Short-Lived Generosity of Software Vendors
In this turbulent time, the software vendors have offered generous packages to help businesses adjust to the pandemic. Microsoft announced Teams will be available to everyone for six months, an E1 license available to businesses, and an A1 license for those in academia. These licenses are the minimum level you need to access Teams. Likewise, Adobe has also announced that it will allow students and teachers temporary free access to the Creative Cloud until either the schools reopen or until May 31, 2020.
A Rise in Software Audits
We have all faced some difficulty with COVID-19, and the software vendors are no exception. They’ll be eager to make up for the lost revenue that they experienced while businesses were shut down or weathering the pandemic’s storm. So, we can expect to see an increase in software audits as soon as this crisis is over, if not before. We have already had customers come to us with an audit notice from a software vendor, wondering how they will ever get the information that’s required if they can’t even go to the office!
It’s important that your company is ready, despite the circumstances. Make sure that even seemingly free software is not installed without your knowledge, and be sure you understand whether or not your licenses can be placed on personal devices for remote work. Ignoring these issues now can easily lead to huge problems later.
For the Long-Term
Software Asset Management Tool Dissatisfaction is on the Rise
This is true, regardless of COVID-19, Smarter with Gartner points out that satisfied customers for SAM tools will only sit at 25% this year, with most SAM customers finding that the product fails to meet expectations. The reason for this can be found in the ever-increasing complexity of SAM, especially with the Cloud coming along to muddy the waters further.
SAM tools also have their limitations, as we discuss in our article, Why Do Software Asset Management Tools Stink at Software Asset Management? Some of the limitations of SAM tools include:
- Bad inventory data
- Failure to account for duplicates
- Failure to identify development and test environments
- Inability to account for license model changes
- Virtualization and Cloud models are too complicated
- OEM and retail box purchase also confuse the SAM tools
These shortcomings that appear in SAM tools will force businesses to either compensate by buying another SAM tool or take up the work themselves by creating spreadsheets and manually counting, which will be increasingly difficult as the pandemic carries on and more impractical as IT infrastructure grows more complex.
What we think will take place in the rest of the year and into 2021, according to our professional opinion at MetrixData 360, is that there will be a surge in microtransactions through APIs. “Microtransaction” is currently only a term used to describe any additional purchases that occur inside a video game, such as paying real money for additional weapons or resources. It can be frustrating for players who have already purchased the game, especially when the additional purchases become necessary as a way to advance through the game (pay-to-win scenarios), and it may become a term that frustrates IT departments in the workplace as well in the coming months.
Few people understand what APIs are or the key role they serve within a company’s IT infrastructure. APIs basically act as messengers between different applications. Applications themselves don’t talk to one another and their interaction is dependent either on some poor intern writing the same information repeatedly in each application, or the APIs doing it.
APIs, therefore, are imperative for the functioning of business, and we think that software vendors are going to begin charging businesses for the use of their APIs. For instance, two years ago, Salesforce purchased Mulesoft, which manages APIs, and is now offering businesses the use of Mulesoft’s technology to connect their applications to one another.
We have already begun seeing it as our clients rack up massive bills because their vendors have begun to charge them a seemingly small fee every time that APIs are used. In the same way that gamers can become frustrated when they are forced to whip out their credit cards for every level they advance, so too will such constant minor charges cause a headache for software asset managers.
Currently, there is no sufficient way to monitor API usage, and if there is no way to know how much you are using, you cannot accurately determine if you are being charged in a manner that reflects what you actually owe.
A New Way to Conduct Software Asset Management
Despite the hardship and tragedy of COVID-19, we will get through this, and it’s important that we work together while the economy recovers. Great tech doesn’t solve a people problem; the new age must be powered by people who are on board with IT investments and willing to gain control of their software environment before such disorganization leaves them exposed to software audits and wasted spending. At MetrixData 360, we pride ourselves in being educators so that our clients understand what we are doing and will be able to improve their SAM practices even after our engagement has closed, providing them with long-lasting value.
If you’d like to learn how you can cut your software expenses down during a Crisis, you can check out our article, How Will Your Software Contracts Be Affected By COVID-19?