person with a globe in front of her face
Political uncertainty has dampened global IT spending projections. PHOTO: Slava Bowman

Worldwide IT spending will total $3.5 trillion this year, up 2.7 percent increase from 2016, Gartner researchers predict.

The growth rate is down slightly from earlier projections of 3 percent. Despite the convergence of cloud, blockchain, digital business and artificial intelligence, spending forecasts sank because of the political uncertainty in global markets, which has "fostered a wait-and-see approach causing many enterprises to forestall IT investments," according to John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

2017 was poised to be a rebound year in IT spending, he said.  

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast covers the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. 

The worldwide IT services market is forecast to grow 4.2 percent in 2017. Buyer investments in digital business, intelligent automation and services optimization and innovation continue to drive growth in the market, but buyer caution, fueled by broad economic challenges, remains a counter-balance to faster growth, according to Gartner analysts.

Microsoft, Google and Amazon are building out aggressive cloud computing platforms, which has pushed the global server forecast to reach 5.6 percent growth in 2017. 

In other technology news ...

Ascent360 Raises $1.9M

Golden, Colo.-based Ascent360, a customer data platform, has secured a seed round of $1.9 million. The funding is backed by Access Venture Partners, Nelnet, Bialla Venture Partners 2, LLC, Service Provider Capital, the Rockies Venture Club and several private investors.  

Ascent360's team
Ascent360's team.

Ascent360 CEO's is Scott Buelter. The company was named AscentCRM until it changed in November. 

"Rebranding AscentCRM as Ascent360 truly reflects our ability to give our customers a full view of their marketplace," Laura Hazlett, director of marketing, said at the time.

Ascent360 officials said their platform turns data into insights. Marketers can help clients grow revenue, measure ROI and improve data access and reporting capabilities, officials claim.

Ascent360 has more than 65 deployments across the outdoor sports, retail, manufacturing and travel and leisure segments.

Officials said they'll use the money to improve sales and marketing capabilities and the product. The company will hire B2B business development representatives, sales executives, senior database developers, senior .NET developers and strategic account managers.

Bluewolf Launches Bluewolf Go

New York City-based consulting agency Bluewolf, an IBM company and a Salesforce global strategic consulting partner, has announced Bluewolf Go, which is designed to help companies go live on Salesforce in 30 or 60 days. 

Bluewolf Go works across the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, including Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, Field Service Lightning, Salesforce CPQ and Pardot. 

The Go offering includes:

  • Recommendations on timing and budget
  • Pre-built solutions for companies with well-defined objectives to go live on Salesforce in 30 or 60 days
  • Go-to-market frameworks that address foundational functionality within Salesforce, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Salesforce CPQ, Field Service Lightning and Pardot
  • Bluewolf Sightline, a patented technology-driven method designed to support ongoing innovation with Salesforce

IBM last March bought Bluewolf Group. Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, but some published reports speculate it is valued at about $200 million.

IBM began its digital agency in 2014 and offers services that span strategy, creative, design, mobile, digital and customer analytics and commerce and customer platform software providers. 

Going Overseas for Cybersecurity

Ami Dotan
Ami Dotan

Karamba Security CEO Ami Dotan will join Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s delegation to Israel later this month for a cybertech conference. Snyder will be a keynote speaker at Cybertech Israel Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

According to Navigant Research Senior Research Analyst Sam Abuelsamid, “Connected and autonomous vehicles must go hand-in-hand with autonomous cybersecurity to enable safe adoption.”

Karamba’s Autonomous Security addresses automotive industry cyber risks. 

Dotan said being selected to take part in the governor’s mission is a way for Karamba Security to continue building bridges between the Israeli cybersecurity community and the Michigan-based car industry.

Karamba Security emerged from stealth last April.

Last week at CES in Las Vegas, Karamba and FEV, which develops and tests electronics systems and subsystems for Advanced Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS), demonstrated how their joint cybersecurity technology solutions can keep self-driving cars safe from hackers. 

Certain Integrates Oracle Eloqua

Peter micciche
Peter Micciche

San Francisco-based events automation provider Certain has released its Oracle Eloqua Edition with EventStream. The new solution runs from within the Oracle Eloqua Program Canvas and allows for real-time data syncing throughout the lifecycle of an event.

The Certain EventStream application addresses a common marketing challenge, officials said, because it captures complete data streams from planning and registration through post-event nurturing. That data is then integrated them directly into Oracle Eloqua.

Peter Micciche is the CEO at Certain. He served as senior vice president sales for the Americas for Nuance Communications Inc., a $1 billion provider of voice recognition solutions and senior vice president of sales for ChannelPoint Inc., a provider of solutions for the financial services and insurance industry.

Enterprise Content Management to Hit $66B

MarketsandMarkets has released a report that predicts the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market will grow to $28.1 billion this year and to $66.3 billion by 2021. 

The major drivers of this market include increasing need among enterprises to adopt ECM solutions to streamline business processes and ensure optimal resource usage and increased traction for risk mitigation in content management.

It's NICE to Have Analytics

NICE has released its next generation interaction analytics solution, based on the Nexidia platform. It incorporates best-of-breed capabilities from both Nexidia and NICE, uses deep learning neural networks to perform sophisticated audio and text search across interaction types, such as calls, chats, emails and surveys. 

NICE’s Next Generation Interaction Analytics solution is fully integrated with NICE Engage, Quality Management and Performance Management, and includes:

  • An administration tool for phone calls, chats, emails, surveys and other interactions
  • Root cause analysis independent of the customer’s chosen contact method, as well as extended cross-channel insights
  • Integrated reporting and query building reflecting complete omni-channel interaction analysis
  • Role-specific interface dashboards, configured for both supervisors and agents
  • Advanced linguistic and statistical text mining for integration with any big data analysis tool