Emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, big data and artificial intelligence will drive IT spending up to record levels, according to Gartner.

The research house expects IT spending worldwide to rise to $3.7 trillion (approx. £2.7 trillion) in the coming year, a rise of 4.5% compared to 2017.

This attributed to the growth in digital business, the blockchain, the increasing adoption of internet-connected devices, known as the Internet of Things, and continued developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

This is despite fear and uncertainty in markets worldwide. John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, said: “Global IT spending growth began to turn around in 2017, with continued growth expected over the next few years. However, uncertainty looms as organizations consider the potential impacts of Brexit, currency fluctuations, and a possible global recession.

“Despite this uncertainty, businesses will continue to invest in IT as they anticipate revenue growth, but their spending patterns will shift.”

gartner it spending 2018

The report by Gartner anticipates considerable growth in artificial intelligence. Though the technology makes many promises, some question the extent to which genuine AI is ready for use in business. Gartner’s report will provide support for those that argue it is, forecasting huge spending growth and resulting productivity gains.

“Looking at some of the key areas driving spending over the next few years, Gartner forecasts $2.9 trillion in new business value opportunities attributable to AI by 2021, as well as the ability to recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity,” said Lovelock.

“That business value is attributable to using AI to, for example, drive efficiency gains, create insights that personalize the customer experience, entice engagement and commerce, and aid in expanding revenue-generating opportunities as part of new business models driven by the insights from data.”

Another major growth area forecasted by Gartner is enterprise software, with an anticipated 9.5% boost in 2018, followed by another 8.4% in 2019, bringing total spending to $421 billion.

Particular gains in this area are expected in the software-as-a-service market, as SaaS solutions become increasingly common and expand into new areas such as financial systems and analytics applications.