2021 IT Priorities Report

See how the biggest challenges from 2020 are shaping IT priorities in 2021

The Ugly Truth Behind Software Audits

Software audits are not only a headache but can mean unexpected bills and divert attention away from other essential priorities as you prepare to defend your organization. In Snow’s IT Priorities report, we asked 1,000 IT leaders and 3,000 global workers about the challenges and trends from this year to understand how technology agendas are being shaped in 2021. The data provided insights into trends which could impact your ability to effectively respond to an audit.

Concern about Audits

Audits are a known challenge that almost every organization faces. While many software vendors offered free trials to support the rapid shift to remote work in early 2020, it’s unlikely that this generosity will continue in 2021. Based on responses from IT Leaders surveyed in the IT Priorities report, the data suggested there was a low concern regarding future audits in all regions except the United States. Industry commentators suggest that audits pose a substantial threat in 2021.

How concerned are you about vendor audits in the next 12 months?

Spending Shifts

Many organizations and IT teams indicated that they were undergoing significant cost cutting measures. However, the IT leaders surveyed reported increased spending on all areas of technology in 2020 including software, hardware, SaaS and cloud. This is likely a result of the pivot to remote work and the required acceleration of digital transformation initiatives and cloud adoption. In 2021 however, IT teams will be required to review their past investments – in which many decisions were made with shorter time periods in mind – to determine what their business still needs and gains value from. The increased technology investment and distributed workforce may also mean that many organizations are still struggling to gain visibility across their entire technology landscape.

How has your organization’s investment changed in the following technologies over the past 12 months?

Technology Usage Changes

Investment in technology resources isn’t the only factor to have increased over the past twelve months. According to IT leaders the top three technologies that increased in use according to IT leaders were cloud services like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, communications software such as Slack, Teams or Google Chat and video conferencing services like Zoom, WebEx and GoToMeeting. Identifying where there may be duplicate technologies deployed across an organization, especially after evaluating active usage figures, may help minimize costs and bolster audit defenses.

How has your organization’s technology use changed over the past 12 months?

Defending your Position

Considering the high potential for audits and the low concern reported by IT leaders, combined with increased investment and use of a number of technology resources, it’s surprising that confidence in a strong audit defense is lacking. Insights from the global data, revealed only 41% of IT leaders strongly agreed that their organization can quickly gather information and confidently defend their position. Organizations and IT teams with doubts or concerns about their preparedness or potential defense likely have introduced some level of unnecessary risk.

My organization can quickly gather information and confidently defend our position for vendor audits

Audits by Vendor

For those global IT leaders that conducted audits in 2020, Microsoft ranked as the top vendor to have conducted these audit activities. While IBM, Oracle, Adobe and SAP were voted amongst the top 5 vendors, survey respondents also noted Amazon, Cisco and Micro Focus as other vendors actively auditing.

Despite an unprecedented year, it’s critical that organizations and their IT teams prepare for the potential of increased audit activity in 2021. The first step towards mounting a proper defense is to ensure comprehensive visibility.

If you’re looking for additional strategies to counter vendor audits, be sure to download Winning Strategies to Beat Software Audits or to download the IT Priorities report.