Australia government IT spending to hit AU$9.5 billion this year

Software is the main driver of the 2.2 percent growth in spending.

The Australian government is projected to spend AU$9.5 billion on IT products and services this year, mainly on software, according to analyst firm Gartner.

In a recent Gartner report, worldwide IT spending is actually expected to contract slightly, by 0.1 percent, to US$449.5 billion this year. Australia has bucked the trend, and is predicted to grow spending by 2.2 percent, the analyst firm said.

Public sector IT spending in Australia is set to reach AU$10.7 billion by 2017.

While governments worldwide are keen to tighten their belts, they're still interested in investing in mobile technologies, IT modernisation, and cloud computing this year, according to Gartner. Between 30 percent and 50 percent of government organisations surveyed for the report have or are planning to adopt cloud-based services, be it public or private, in the next 12 months.

"Cloud computing, in particular, continues to increase compared with prior years, driven by economic conditions and a shift from capital expenditure to operational expenditure, as well as potentially more important factors such as faster deployment and reduced risk," Gartner research director Christine Arcaris said in a statement. "Other areas, such as datacentre consolidation, are lower on the list than in previous years, perhaps demonstrating that they may have met resistance in a more strategic rollout.

"Vendors should be ready to reposition offerings, according to these changing market dynamics."

Governments are also warming up to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, with half of the survey respondents allowing employees to bring their own smartphones and notebooks into work. But only 38 percent allowed BYOD tablets.

While big data isn't high on the priority list for many of the government agencies surveyed, it is an area that is attracting more attention.

"Government organisations have increased big data spending for improper payment systems, indicating a desire to tackle fraud, waste, and abuse within agencies, as well as target upfront errors in revenue collection," Arcaris said. "While agencies are assessing how to manage, leverage, and store big data, not many have addressed the challenges associated with the utilisation of content and the issues associated with merging large amounts of data onto a single platform."