It may just be that the economic problems that have dogged IT spending over the past few years could be over. According to predictions by Gartner, spending overall this year is going to be US$ 3.7 trillion globally, up 4.2% on last year and, more importantly, up from Gartner’s previous prediction of 3.8%.
Information Management Spending Recovery?
While figures like this are hard to digest and put in context, in the information management space all the news from this set of figures is good. The spending drive, it seems, will be led by spending on devices — no surprises there — and enterprises.
There has been considerable anecdotal evidence over the past year that enterprises were holding on to their cash as they waited for a confirmed economic turnaround before splashing out on new software, and even hardware. With these set of figures, it looks like that turnaround is here.
Yesterday, we saw that HP is considering spinning off some of its more unprofitable businesses and in this respect the consensus appears to be that the PC manufacturing might go. We also speculated that selling this off too soon would be like a turkey voting for Thanksgiving.
These figures would seem to concur. The first thing to note here is that the increase upwards in Gartner’s spending predictions is based on currency fluctuations that will see gains in foreign currencies against the dollar and push spending growth upwards to 4.2%.
However, taking constant and current values into account, the rise in spending will be 3.9%, in keeping with Gartner’s earlier predictions, which means the research giant is standing by its contention that 2013 will be a year of growth.
On top of this, Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner comes right out and says what many vendors have been hoping for quite a while:
Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth…This uncertainty has caused the pessimistic business and consumer sentiment throughout the world. However, much of this uncertainty is nearing resolution, and as it does, we look for accelerated spending growth in 2013 compared to 2012."
Enterprise Software Spending
So where will all the spending happen? Well let’s take a quick look at enterprise software first. According to Gartner, spending on enterprise software will hit US$ 296 billion in 2013, up 6.4% from 2012 and will continue into 2014.
However, while spending in 2013 will be driven by a number of areas that enterprises feel they need to catch up on after holding back for a few years like storage management, customer relationship management and security, there will be a change in spending priorities in 2014. This will see enterprises investing in many of the technologies that we talk about on a daily basis like Big Data, data integration tools, data quality tools and the stable of any proper content strategy, robust enterprise content management systems.
Device Spending Drops
Needless to say, the device market is also going to see considerable action over the coming months — although you don’t have to be an analyst to see how that is going to happen.
Worldwide spending on devices, which includes PCs, tablets, mobile and printers will hit US$ 666 billion, up 6.6% on 2012, but significantly lower than Gartner’s previous spending prediction of US$ 706 billion on devices, representing 7.9% growth.
And here’s the kicker for companies like HP. Overall spending on devices up to 2016 has been revised downward with the sharp reduction in forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets only partially offset by marginal increases in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers.
The tablet market has seen greater price competition from android devices, as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets…It is ultimately this shift toward relatively lower-priced tablets that lowers our average selling prices forecast for 2012 through 2016, which in turn is responsible for slowing device spending growth in general, and PC and tablet spending growth in particular,” Gordon said.
So, it seems that the decline in device spending will not be the result of a decline in PC sales — although the research didn't go into this — but rather more competitive pricing around tablets.
Other areas of interest include the global telecom services market, which will continue to be the largest IT spending market. Growth here over the years will be flat, with declines in spending for both fixed and mobile voice services markets offset by revenues from mobile data services markets. By 2016, Gartner says mobile data will make-up 33% of the total telecoms services markets.
All this, Gartner says, is only the tip of the iceberg.