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Gartner predicts IT spending to reach $4.5 trillion in 2022

Corporate boards will prioritize their digital tech initiatives, as fully remote work gives way to a thoughtful hybrid work model that places IT at the core of business operations.

IT research and consulting firm Gartner anticipates worldwide IT spending to rise 5.5% in 2022, to $4.5 trillion. The increase, driven mainly by corporate boards' willingness to take risks, has important implications for the role of IT workers.

Gartner predicts spending on hardware to grow much more slowly than in 2021, while spending on enterprise software will likely remain high. The analyst firm expects spending to rise 9.5% to $4.2 trillion this year, as companies shift from the COVID-19 pandemic's fully remote work to a hybrid workplace.

Gartner released its IT spending findings this week at its virtual IT Symposium/Xpo, where the analyst firm also discussed how the pandemic has changed corporate board strategies.

Many have taken a "try fast, fail fast approach" to operating in a pandemic with significant risks, said Partha Iyengar, a distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. They will continue taking risks with technology investments in 2022 because of uncertainties within the world's recovery.

Gartner reported that 58% of surveyed board members ranked digital technology initiatives as their top business priority in 2022. Also, 64% of the 273 global respondents said they have tried to change their companies' economic structures to be more digitally focused.

The shift to digital technology "in and of itself puts IT in a completely different role," said John Lovelock, Gartner's chief forecaster. "It gets you out of 'save-a-buck, please, to earn-a-buck, thank you.'"

Gartner IT spending table
Worldwide IT spending is expected to continue to increase across sectors in 2022, although the pace will slow from 2021, according to a recent survey from Gartner of 273 global respondents. Figures are shown in millions of U.S. dollars.

Lovelock encouraged IT workers at all levels to think critically about how their company's value to customers could improve if technology drove services that made it a revenue generator and not just a part of the cost of doing business.

"They should be pushing their companies to make that shift in accounting, make that shift in mindset," he said.

Gartner predicts that successful and disruptive enterprises will be more interested in building technology than buying it ready-made for at least the next three to five years. Lovelock stressed that a build-it-yourself approach wouldn't be the right fit for every company, in every industry, in every location, but that the trend was strong among industry leaders.

Gartner also expects consultancies to perform very well, as a rise in IT spending converges with a shortage of qualified IT workers.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covered community news for Boston Globe Media. She is a graduate of Northeastern University, and originally hails from Missoula, Montana.

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