Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spend will total $3.5 trillion in 2017 , a 2.7 per cent increase which is lower than the analysts’ earlier prediction of 3 per cent.

“2017 was poised to be a rebound year in IT spending. Some major trends have converged, including cloud, blockchain, digital business and artificial intelligence. Normally, this would have pushed IT spending much higher than 2.7 per cent growth,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “However, some of the political uncertainty in global markets has fostered a wait-and-see approach causing many enterprises to forestall IT investments.”

In Australia, IT spending is expected to reach more than A$85 billion in 2017 , a 2.7 per cent increase from last year. Spending on devices (mobile phones, PCs tablets and printers) is forecast to decline over the next two years. IT services represents the biggest spending category of tech spending, while software will be the fastest growing in 2017.

Australian IT spending forecast. Source: Gartner

Globally, Lovelock said the range of spending growth from the high to low is much larger in 2017 than in past years.

“Normally, the economic environment causes some level of division, however, in 2017 this is compounded by the increased levels of uncertainty,” said Lovelock. “The result of that uncertainty is a division between individuals and corporations that will spend more — due to opportunities arising — and those that will retract or pause IT spending.”

For example, aggressive build-out of cloud computing platforms by companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon is pushing the global server forecast to reach 5.6 per cent growth in 2017. This was revised up 3 per cent from last quarter’s forecast and is sufficient growth to overcome the expected 3 per cent decline in external controller-based storage and allow the data center systems segment to grow 2.6 per cent in 2017.

By segment, the worldwide enterprise software is tipped to make the biggest gains, growing 6.8 per cent in 2017 to $355 billion. Communications services will account for the largest chunk of spending, up 1.7 per cent to $1,408 billion.

Worldwide devices spending such as PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones, is projected to remain flat in 2017 at $589 billion.

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

Worldwide IT spending forecast. Source: Gartner

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