While we'll all have to wait and see (especially on the latter points), some predictions are more modest and firm-footed in evidence than others.
One example is the outlook from Forrester Research, projecting that business and government IT spend will continue to grow in 2014 -- albeit only by single digit percentage points.
Specifically, analysts project that global IT spend will grow by 6.2 percent in U.S. dollars, or 5.5 percent in exchange-rate-adjusted or local currency terms. Forrester also pinpointed that the United States will set the pace in this arena, likely to account for 40 percent of all IT spend this year.
That money is expended to fund investments in computer and communications equipment, software, and consulting and outsourcing services. Forrester stipulated that it does not include investment in telecommunications services.
Software alone is expected to receive the bulk of these funds, accounting for 7.8 percent of IT spend in U.S. dollars. U.S.-based corporations are once again expected to spend the most in this market, accounting for nearly half of global software purchases.
Within this vertical, Andrew Bartels, an analyst covering CIOs and a member of Forrester's Business Technology Futures team, highlighted Software-as-a-Service and mobile development in a blog post on Thursday.
Traditional licensed, on-premises software has suffered, especially in the slow-growth economies of 2012 and 2013, but will revive in 2014, especially in Europe, Asia, and emerging markets. The combination of strong growth in new software categories and restored growth in older categories will help make software the leading tech category. That also helps the US tech market, because the US has an almost 60% share of SaaS and analytics spending. The revival of on-premises software will also be good news for IT consulting and systems integration services in 2014 — because SaaS leads to much less systems integration services spending than on-premises software, a revival of the latter will slow the erosion of services vendor revenues from on-premises software implementation in 2014, though continued expansion of SaaS will hamper IT services revenue growth in 2015 and beyond.
Despite that last note, Bartels concluded that Forrester still expects global IT spend to continue to grow into 2015. Software, in particular, is expected to grow by double-digit points within the year.