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IT Spending to Rise as Much as 6 Percent in 2011

IT spending may grow by almost 6% next year due to cloud computing, mobile networking and social media, according to market researcher IDC.

IDC says global IT spending could be $1.6 trillion next year, a 5.7% hike over 2010. The firm expects cloud services, mobile computing and social networking "to mature and coalesce into a new mainstream platform" for IT.

IDC says this maturation could also change the competitive landscape.

"We'll see the IT industry revolving more and more around the build-out and adoption of this next dominant platform," says Frank Gens, IDC chief analyst, in a statement. "This restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry's leaders will be and how they establish and maintain leadership."

IDC's numbers are about $1 trillion less than Gartner's, a competitive research firm. Gartner projects about $2.5 trillion in spending, up 3% from 2010.

Under IDC's watch, spending on public IT cloud services will grow 30% from 2010, as organizations move more business applications into the cloud; mobile devices will outnumber PCs in 18 months; mobile app downloads will grow 150% -- from 10 billion in 2010 to 25 billion in 2011; and social media will infiltrate corporate business and operations software, growing at a compounded rate of 38% for the next four years.

Building the infrastructure for all of this will grow too. Hardware spending is predicted to be up 7.8% from 2010, while software will grow 5.3%, services 3.5% and outsourcing 4%, IDC projects. Emerging markets will account for more than half of all net new IT spending worldwide, the firm predicts.

"What really distinguishes the year ahead is that these disruptive technologies are finally being integrated with each other – cloud with mobile, mobile with social networking, social networking with 'big data' and real-time analytics," states Gens. "As a result, these once-emerging technologies can no longer be invested in, or managed, as sandbox efforts around the edges of the market. Instead, they are rapidly becoming the market itself and must be addressed accordingly."

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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