When I started working as a journalist in the IT sector IBM was always used as the bellwether for IT spending. If its results were bad it usually meant businesses weren't spending on IT. If the results were good it usually meant businesses were spending.
But times have changed, particularly in IT services. Although IBM is probably still the main bellwether you have alternatives.
I think today the results of a group of Indian IT service providers can be looked at to get a good idea about IT spending patterns. Everyone seems to do something with the Indian suppliers at the moment and often look set to do more.
The SWITCH suppliers (Satyam, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and HCL) won business with western corporates with lower prices and have build upon this. Today the biggest corporates in the world rely heavily on these companies for their IT services.
Infosys, Wipro, TCS and HCL have all recently announced their results. If the group is an IT services bellwether it looks like spending jumped sharply over the year compared to last year. It also shows that it has now levelled off to more steady growth every quarter.
According to a couple of the companies businesses might be tentatively spending on IT that improves the business after years of spending on IT to be more efficient.
See the results of the four suppliers in this article.