Forrester Predicts Optimistic 2014

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Forrester Research offers an optimistic outlook for 2013, calling it a transitional year to 2014, where IT budgets will loosen up and major spending on mobility, cloud and Big Data-style solutions will spur considerable growth.

forresterForrester Research has launched a new global technology market forecast, predicting a 5.4 percent growth in global tech spending into 2013 and noting "the year will be better than it looks from the headline." Europe is slated for minimal growth with other economically distressed nations, but the United States will fare well, with predictions set at 7.5 percent growth for the 2013 year.

Forrester does offer some caution: "Firms should look at 2013 as a transition year." Spending increases are more likely to come in 2014, when Forrester believes spending overall will grow 6.7 percent globally. Forrester believes last years backdrop of economic malaise is what has caused slowing markets in 2012 and what will made 2013 that slow-but-steady year. When looking only at the global technology market, Forrester believes 2013 "will do a bit better," but the real gains will come after the fact.

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The players in that growth are a cast of characters with which the channel is familiar. Mobility, "smart computing" like Big Data and cloud technology will be around -- the only difference: Forrester sees IT budgets being freed, and "the pent-up demand for new technologies" will accelerate a windfall in IT spending. With confidence, Forrester believes "this will be the story of 2013 and 2014."

PC hardware is set to stall or stay flat, as will storage, servers and other peripherals -- growth is more centered around the tablet space. Forrester sees Apple Inc. selling $11 billion in iPads to the corporate market alone in 2013 and, in a twist, Windows 8 devices getting an 8 percent bump in 2014 due to "increased PC demand and improved Windows 8 devices." For Apple and Microsoft Corp.,  these figures are glowingly optimistic -- for Microsoft, more so. 

Gartner revised its global spending estimate on IT services, hardware and software to 4.2 percent, up from from 3.8 percent, but Gartner has been pessimistic about other spaces. Spending growth on devices, tablets and printers were lowered from an optimistic 7.9 percent to 6.3 percent. Long-term estimates on 2016 spending were dropped from 6.4 percent to 4.5 percent.

In effect, Gartner offers a more dour look at the 2013 forecast than Forrester, but Forrester's description of 2013 as transitional would still be spot-on even if Gartner's predictions are true. Like most predictions, they are open to change, market fluctuations and innovative surprises.

Bottom line for the channel: 2013 is still the year to start solidifying a cloud-centric strategy. If spending is set for a 2014 boom, there's no excuse for a lack of industry-aligned specializations in mobility, cloud or next-gen data. Gear up and get ready.

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