Our research inclines us towards the first scenario, although IT growth in almost all main vertical industry sectors is in single figures.
The main exception is the public sector, which is set to achieve double-figure growth this year, thanks to the chancellor's modernising government cash injection. But those gathering like moths to the sector should beware. Public sector IT procurement is leaner and meaner than ever. True, bureaucracy still slows down decisions and creates frustrating delays and blockages, but more flexibility is coming in alongside a focus on winning value for taxpayers' money.
Government is the largest customer for many suppliers and what it buys - and how - has a huge influence on the shape and cost of products and services. With public sector IT spend growth on a roll, the time has never been more ripe for government to take a strong lead where it matters, such as by adopting open standards, common procurement and contract routines. That is the only route to real savings and true modernisation.
This was first published in January 2002