While spending on enterprise software is expected to maintain healthy growth in the next couple of years, the traditional operating system is taking a tumble.
Gartner research released today shows that enterprise software will be the sector of IT spending with the highest growth between 2013 and 2014 at 6.7 percent. The figure represents a slight increase on 2013's figure of 6.4 percent — when software's growth is only topped by that of devices.
In 2010, half of spending on devices went on PCs and laptops, and a quarter on smartphones. However, according to Gartner, that pattern will be roughly reversed by 2017: smartphones and tablets will account for half of device spending while the traditional desktop PC and notebook share will fall to 20 percent.
Growth in spending for operating systems has declined from six percent between 2010 and 2011 to a negative figure of -0.03 percent in 2011-12 and is expected to stand at 3.5 percent for 2013-14.
Change in user tastes and the BYOD trend
Gartner managing vice president Richard Gordon said the sharp slowdown in corporate demand for traditional PCs is bound up with a change in user preferences and the BYOD trend.
In terms of overall spending levels, telecoms services leads the field by some margin, with revenues expected to reach $1,728bn by 2014. IT services comes next with $963bn, devices on $758bn, enterprise software on $316bn and datacentre systems on $152bn.
"If you look at the overall IT spend growth figures they are fairly modest — three or four percent," Gordon said.
"But with the uncertainty over the economic situation and the politicians' ability to make sensible decisions, that fact we've got IT spending holding up at that level is quite encouraging," he said.
Gordon argued that there is no further degradation in IT spending growth. "You might have expected potentially to have lower growth figures — zero percent or even negative — but we're not seeing that," he said.
"I think what it says is that we're still seeing — obviously the keep-the-lights-on-spending is continuing — the strategic investments going even though the economic situation is unstable and uncertain. We're seeing some positive growth, which is encouraging and we can take some optimism from that."