In a statement issued today, Gartner said an anticipated sharp decline in enterprise hardware spending in Australia -- down 5.2 percent to AU$7.2 billion -- would be offset by a 9.4 percent rise in spending on information technology services to AU$17.7 billion, a 12.9 percent increase in spending on telecommunications to AU$13.9 billion and a 12.1 percent rise in software spending to AU$1.8 billion. Total spending was likely to be AU$40.6 billion, the researcher said.
On the hardware side, Gartner points the finger at global saturation in the enterprise desktop arena, particularly in more developed economies such as Australia. The company said it expected three of the top 10 personal computer vendors to exit the market by 2007, with the sector's unit growth slumping and revenue growth stalling.
Enterprise spending growth in Australia is expected to significantly lag that in the Asia-Pacific, where it is expected to climb 7.6 percent to US$208.7 billion in 2005, Gartner vice-president and chief of research, Asia-Pacific, John Roberts, said.
"The future is bright [in the region] and in just five years, the information technology industry will have little resemblance to that of today, yielding extraordinary benefits with network security, convergence, IP telephony, software as services and instant messaging all maturing within 36 months," Roberts said in a statement.
"Utility computing and wireless LANs will also become more established, while we will begin to experience the value of RFID tags, grid computing, Web conferencing and real-time infrastructure during the next three years".
In an interview with ZDNet Australia , Roberts said the 4 percent year-on-year growth figure anticipated for Australia was similar to the growth achieved in 2004.
He said in Australia, IP telephony was "certainly reaching a level where it was ready to take off". Other growth areas included business process intelligence tools, which give enterprises the ability to more cleverly and effectively use the data held in their enterprise resource planning systems, information technology services and outsourcing.
Roberts cautioned that a key threat to Gartner's spending forecasts would be Australia's failure to meet overall anticipated economic growth forecasts. However, Gartner based its estimates on figures compiled by respected global organisations such as the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, he said.