Gartner: 'Timid' growth in IT spending over next 5 years

Cites cloud, social computing as major trends in next decade

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Enterprise IT spending worldwide will reach $2.5 trillion in 2011, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner forecasts a 3.1 percent increase in enterprise IT spending over this year's projected total of $2.4 trillion. That rate of growth is better than the 2.4 percent rate from 2009 to 2010.

But, Gartner writes, "Over the next five years, enterprise IT spending will represent a period of timid and at times lackluster growth with spending totaling $2.8 trillion in 2014."

In a presentation Monday to an audience at this week's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla. (this is from a Gartner press release; I wasn't there), Gartner head of global research Peter Sondergaard warned: “Several key vertical industries, such as manufacturing and financial services will not see IT budgets recover to pre-2008 levels before 2012 or 2013."

Fortunately, he added, ”Emerging economies continue to be the locomotive of enterprise IT spending, substantially outpacing developed economies.”

Gartner predicts that, over the next decade, "four broad trends" will drive change in IT and the economy:

1. Cloud
2. Business impact of social computing
3. Context Aware Computing
4. Pattern Based Strategy

Sondergaard talked in detail about each of these trends at the Gartner Symposium, but his most interesting observation was about item No. 2:

“Social computing -- not Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, but the technologies and principals behind them -- will be implemented across and between all organizations. It will unleash yet-to-be realized productivity growth, it will contribute to economic growth.”

Organizations still skeptical about the value of social computing/networking/media might want to think again. Social will be as important a part of the corporate world as it is to our culture at large.

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