Australian businesses are forecast to spend $85 billion on IT this year, an increase of 2.7 per cent on 2016.
Of the categories analysed by Gartner researchers, IT services is expected to see the biggest spend in 2017, while enterprise software will be the fastest growing.
Spending on communications services and data centre systems is also predicted to rise. Investment in devices – including mobile phones, PCs, tablets and printers – meanwhile, is forecast to decline over the next two years.
IT spend in Australia is in line with the global forecast, also predicted to be 2.7 per cent.
Initial forecasts had put that increase at three per cent, but political uncertainty worldwide – specifically as a result of Brexit – led to the growth rate being recalculated.
“This year was poised to be a rebound year in IT spending. Some major trends have converged, including cloud, blockchain, digital business and artificial intelligence. Normally, this would have pushed IT spending much higher than 2.7 percent growth,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.
“However, some of the political uncertainty in global markets has fostered a wait-and-see approach causing many enterprises to forestall IT investments.”
Into 2018, spending on IT services, software and communication services by Australian businesses will continue to rise, while spend on data centre systems and devices will decline, say researchers.
In the IT services market, buyer investments in digital business, intelligent automation, services optimisation and innovation would continue to drive growth, but buyer caution, fueled by broad economic challenges, remains a counter-balance to faster growth, Gartner said.
Last year saw total IT spend in the Asia Pacific region decrease by 1.4 per cent. That fall was bigger than the 0.3 per cent decrease seen globally and due in part to a 7.4 per cent decrease in local investment in devices.