Investment in enterprise software and cloud computing tools will be among the major drivers of growth in the IT sector this year, helping contribute to an overall increase in spending of 3.2 per cent.

This is according to research by Gartner, which forecast that total global expenditure in 2019 will reach $3.76 trillion (£2.85 trillion). However, spending on software will increase by 8.5 per cent, largely driven by the shift from on-premise to cloud services.

John-David Lovelock, research vice-president at Gartner, said the outlook for the next 12 months is positive, despite the uncertainty created by issues such as Brexit, trade wars and the threat of recession.

"There are a lot of dynamic changes happening in regards to which segments will be driving growth in the future," he continued. "Spending is moving from saturated segments, such as mobile phones, PCs and on-premises data centre infrastructure, to cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) devices." 

Mr Lovelock observed that while many businesses may expect to see cost optimisation as a result of this shift away from bricks and mortar solutions, the main reason for greater adoption of cloud tools will be the added agility they can provide.

"Digital business runs at a much faster speed than [bricks and mortar] business; hyperscale data centres are the only things that can support the speed of digital business, the cooperation required in digital business – it's very difficult to do that on-premises," he said.

In addition to changes in buying behaviour, many organisations will have to address the challenges posed by skills shortages in their IT teams, as many will struggle to keep pace with the demands created by a new generation of technologies.

For instance, developing skills in areas such as managing Internet of Things devices, artificial intelligence solutions and data science will be essential, as these areas are evolving at a rapid rate.

As a result of this, Mr Lovelock warned nearly half of the IT workforce is in "urgent need of developing skills or competencies" in order to better support digital business initiatives.

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