Political uncertainty may stymie IT investment in 2017 says Gartner

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Technology research firm Gartner has put forward its projections on how the IT sector will perform in 2017.

There is growth across the board with worldwide IT spending expected to increase 2.7% year-on-year to $3.4 trillion. This is a massive improvement on 2016 where IT spending actually declined by 0.6% to $3.3 trillion.

This growth is helped along by a number of new technologies that have come – and will come – to the fore this year. “2017 was poised to be a rebound year in IT spending. Some major trends have converged, including cloud, blockchain, digital business and artificial intelligence,” says Gartner vice president of research John-David Lovelock.

Had this been any other year the convergence of these technologies would have seen growth shoot well above the currently projected 2.7% but as with many things political uncertainty has investors worried.

This doesn’t mean there’s no investment on the cards. Gartner projects that Enterprise Software will see 6.8% growth this year with IT services seeing the second largest area of growth at 4.2%. The growth in services is expected to be driven by investment in digital business, the growing trend to automate everything and innovation within the sector.

In the realm of physical devices growth is expected to remain flat. “Emerging markets will drive the replacement cycle for mobile phones as smartphones in these markets are used as a main computing device and replaced more regularly than in mature markets,” says Gartner.

Elsewhere in the sector data centre systems are expected to grow by 2.6%, a massive improvement on the 0.6% decline seen in 2016.

“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,” says 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.”


Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.