Enterprise IT Spending to Reach $2.7 Trillion in 2012: Gartner

The report says cloud computing, social networking and mobile technology will combine to function as the new nexus.

Worldwide enterprise IT spending is projected to total $2.7 trillion in 2012, a 3.9 percent increase from 2011 spending of $2.6 trillion, according to research from IT analytics firm Gartner. While enterprise IT spending growth is slowing (from the expected 5.9 percent increase in 2011), analysts said it's important to note that despite the global economic challenges, enterprises will continue to invest in IT.

"The days when IT was the passive observer of the world are over. Global politics and the global economy are being shaped by IT," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research. "IT is a primary driver of business growth. For example, this year 350 companies will each invest more than $1 billion in IT. They are doing this because IT impacts their business performance."

According to the report, two-thirds of CEOs believe IT will make a greater contribution to their industry in the next 10 years than any prior decades. "For the IT leader to thrive in this environment, IT leaders must lead from the front and re-imagine IT," Sondergaard said. "IT leaders must embrace the post-modern business, a business driven by customer relationships, fueled by the explosion in information, collaboration and mobility."

Sondergaard said this new era brings with it "urgent and compelling forces," including the cloud, social media, enterprise mobility and an explosion in information. Gartner estimates that while $74 billion was spent on public cloud services in 2010, that only represented 3 percent of enterprise spending. Public cloud services are expected to grow five times faster than overall IT enterprise spending (19 percent annually through 2015). "What supply chain models did to manufacturing is what cloud computing is doing to in-house data centers. It is allowing people to optimize around where they have differentiated capabilities," he said.

Less than 20 million media tablets, such as the Apple iPad, were sold in 2010, but by 2016, 900 million media tablets will be purchased - one for every eight people on earth. By 2014, the installed base of devices based on lightweight mobile operating systems, such as Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows 8 will exceed the total installed base of all PC-based systems, Gartner research indicated.

"That's incredible change, not only for individuals. It requires IT to re-imagine the way it provides applications," Sondergaard said. "By 2014, private app stores will be deployed by 60 percent of IT organizations. The applications themselves will be redesigned - they will become context-enabled, understanding the user's intent automatically. Mobile computing is not just the desktop on a handheld device. The future of mobile computing is context-aware computing."

The report says cloud computing, social networking and mobile technology will combine to function as the new nexus, and as data centers give way to data clouds, mobile devices become windows into personal clouds. "These forces are innovative and disruptive just taken on their own, but brought together, they are revolutionizing business and society," Sondergaard said. "This nexus defines the next age of computing. To understand this change, you must appreciate each of the forces."