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Consequences of the Pandemic: More Software, Less Budget

Updated: May 14, 2021

Jennifer Schneider, managing director of usedSoft Germany
Jennifer Schneider, managing director of usedSoft Germany

Companies and public authorities are needing significantly more software licences due to the pandemic-related home office boom. However, many of them don’t have a higher IT budget available for this. This is the outcome of the latest survey conducted by the used software distributor and reseller usedSoft. More than 550 purchasing decision-makers from companies and public authorities took part.

The coronavirus pandemic has had an influence on the licence requirements of about half of the companies. 40 per cent needed more licences due to the pandemic. The main reason was the installation of new home office workstations, for which additional usage rights had to be purchased. Despite the increased need, however, the IT budget was only increased in about a quarter (27 per cent) of cases. In addition, 15 per cent of software buyers had to accept cutbacks owing to the pandemic. Only 10 per cent needed fewer licences because fewer staff were being employed due to reduced working hours or job cuts.

Because of these aggravating circumstances resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, a fast, simple ordering process has become even more important for many IT buyers. In particular, an ordering option via a web shop is a decisive criterion for 74 per cent of respondents when deciding on a particular used software dealer. Currently, usedSoft is the only well-known provider to operate a professional online shop for used licences.

Most of our customers are now ordering online”, says Jennifer Schneider, managing director of usedSoft Germany. “When doing so, a transparent, clear ordering process is particularly important to our customers.” usedSoft is continuously enhancing its shop. Which is an investment that’s paying off: among respondents who have already purchased from usedSoft or other used software providers, usedSoft scored significantly better, especially in the ordering process.

The results of the survey are also reflected in usedSoft’s business growth: “Last year alone, we sold ten times more Office 2019 licences than in the previous year”, says Schneider. “Many companies need to buy licences quickly in the current situation, but are short of cash. So it’s only logical that they’re increasingly turning to the second-hand market. Here, software is up to 50 per cent cheaper than buying it new.” The result was correspondingly clear when companies were asked why they’d decided to buy second-hand: 92% named the lower price as the reason. Around a third (32%) also stated that they’re using the second-hand market for quick re-licensing.

For 43% of respondents, another important argument for buying secondhand was an aversion to subscription and cloud models. Admittedly, 22% said that the pandemic had made them more open to cloud models in principle. On the other hand, almost one third (32%) had become even more concerned that cloud solutions entail security risks. Criticism of the cloud has become louder in recent months, and not only among buyers of used software. Only a few months ago, the ECJ found that companies and public authorities are violating the GDPR when using cloud offers from US providers.

Microsoft recently reacted to the increasing criticism of subscription and cloud models with the surprising announcement that it would soon be launching a new purchase version for its Office Suite. 82% of respondents welcomed this decision. “Many IT managers complain that subscriptions make them too dependent on the manufacturer”, explains Schneider. “Used software is so popular because companies are able to retain control. Both over their costs and over their data.

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