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Brexit won’t curb IT spending

Analyst Gartner expects organisations to carry on buying more IT to support digitisation initiatives

Brexit and international trade disputes are unlikely to have an impact on IT spending, according to the latest forecast by analyst Gartner.

“Despite uncertainty fuelled by recession rumours, Brexit, and trade wars and tariffs, the likely scenario for IT spending in 2019 is growth,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice-president at Gartner.

The increase is likely to be fuelled by digitisation initiatives.

“IT is no longer just a platform that enables organisations to run their business – it is becoming the engine that moves the business,” said Lovelock. “As digital business and digital business ecosystems move forward, IT will be the thing that binds the business together.”

IT spending globally is set to increase by 3.2% to $3.76tn in 2019, compared with 2018.

Lovelock said spending was shifting from devices such as mobile phones, PCs and on-premise datacentre infrastructure to cloud services and internet of things (IoT) devices.

“IoT devices, in particular, are starting to pick up the slack from devices. Where the devices segment is saturated, IoT is not,” said Lovelock.

The move to cloud is expected to drive enterprise software sales. Gartner’s forecast for worldwide software spending projected growth of 8.5% in 2019, with a further 8.2% in 2020, to total $466bn. According to Gartner’s forecast, organisations are expected to increase spending on enterprise application software in 2019, with more of the budget shifting to software as a service (SaaS).

Gartner’s research also found that skills of internal staff were starting to lag as organisations adopt new technologies, such as IoT devices, to drive digital business.

“Nearly half the IT workforce is in urgent need of developing skills or competencies to support digital business initiatives. Skills requirements to keep up, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, API [application programming interface] and services platform design, and data science, are changing faster than we’ve ever seen before,” said Lovelock.

While Gartner’s forecast showed strong growth, a survey by Opinium for business internet service provider Beaming found that 77% of larger organisations had put at least one IT project on hold pending the outcome of Brexit. Eleven of the 136 large businesses, with over 250 employees, surveyed, said they had delayed projects worth £1m and over pending the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

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