Gartner says it expects IT spending to drop nearly four percent in 2009 over the previous year as the current recession will see more losses than the dot-com bust in 2001. Nothing in particular about the study jumps out, as I think the industry in general obviously expected such results.
But one statistic did catch my attention:
Hardware in particular will see a nearly 15 percent decline as fewer companies invest in 2009 and are expected to spend $324.3 billion, compared with $381 billion spent on hardware in 2008.
I think that speaks to two trends in particular. While the economy is clearly resulting in cut budgets and less money on hardware, SaaS and cloud computing are leading to the virtualization of the datacenter. Businesses realize they no longer have to cradle the huge upfront costs that burdened the industry nearly a decade ago.
My second point speaks back to the first. Cloud computing, SaaS and open source is driving innovation in a much different fashion than in 2001, and leaving the market in a much more favorable position to recover as a result. I remember hearing Jonathan Schwartz comment that “Innovation loves a crisis, and thank God there’s a crisis.”
In software, look for that next step in innovation to be cloud computing. Similar to open source with source code, cloud computing has democratized data centers and applications alike. Computing is entering a new area in which flexibility and scalability are becoming ubiquitous, and that only bodes well for both vendors and customers alike as businesses look to cut their IT budgets for years to come.