Caution seems to be the prevailing attitude of two major technology research firms, Gartner and Forrester Research, which both have released their requisite 2012 crystal-balling IT spending forecasts for the next 12 months.
The Gartner forecast is the more conservative of the two, calling for worldwide IT spending to reach $3.8 trillion in 2012, which would be a 3.7 percent increase over 2011. That was a downward revision from its previous prediction for 4.6 percent growth. The major reasons that Gartner has put a damper on its expectations: the financial crisis in Europe and the lingering impact of floods on Thailand on hard-drive manufacturing. (Although that has to be helping the solid state drive situation.)
The two brightest spots in Gartner’s forecast are enterprise software, which should post a 6.4 percent growth rate this year, and telecommunications equipment, which is forecast to grow at 6.9 percent over the next 12 months.
Forrester Research is slightly more optimistic in its forecast, calling for growth (in U.S. dollars) of 5.4 percent to $2.122 trillion. Forrester doesn’t account for corporate telecommunications services in its spending calculations, so that is one of the reasons for the disparity in the overall outlook.
Like Gartner, Forrester points to software as the single biggest IT purchase category in its “Global Tech Market Outlook for 2012 and 2013”, and it expects the revenue for that category to be around $529 billion (about 25 percent of the overall total). The U.S. outlook is relatively bright, with growth of between 6 percent and 7 percent anticipated.
IT consulting and systems integration is the third biggest category of spending anticipated by Forrester (after software and computer equipment). Services spending should reach about $427 billion for the year, according to the report. But if you are a technology solution provider that still favors systems integration in your services mix, you could miss out on some of that growth. That’s because Forrester says the IT consulting and training services segment grew at a rate of about 12 percent in 2011, compared with 11 percent for integration services and 10 percent for IT outsourcing.
“That trend will accelerate in 2012 and 2013, when IT consulting services will grow two to three percentage points faster than systems integration services and even faster compared with IT outsourcing.”
Forrester believes there are two big reasons for that shift:
- Adoption of software as a service, which requires companies to consider their business processes
- The rise of so-called “smart computing” applications that correlate with the growing interest in data analytics and predictive forecasting solutions.
What else is in store for 2012. You should read SearchITChannel’s two forward-looking trend pieces for the next 12 months: “Four trends that will shape IT services in 2012” and “Four technologies that will shape 2012 solutions.”