Improvements and stability in business confidence across a range of industries will drive stronger IT spending growth this year, led by financial and professional services firms, retailers, and healthcare providers, according to a new study by International Data Corp.

Professional services firms, including cloud service providers, will increase their IT spending by 6 percent in 2017, while IT budgets in the financial services sector will rise by more than 5 percent. By 2021, IT spending will reach $2.7 trillion, with the largest contributions coming from consumers, banks, manufacturers, and telecommunications providers.

Cloud service providers are expected to resume data center investment growth in the second half of 2017, after a brief slowdown, and this will drive server and storage spending by professional services firms to almost 9 percent growth this year.

Enterprise buyers are also poised for a server upgrade cycle this year, IDC said, driving positive growth in spending across vertical industries. Enterprise software spending remains strong, led by professional services (up 9 percent), followed by banking, securities and investment services, retail, and healthcare (all up 8 percent).

Total annual software spending will surpass $600 billion by 2021, with the largest contributions from manufacturing, banking, and professional services, the report said.

"The banking industry shows largely positive indicators for spending plans, with key projects focused on big data and analytics," said Jessica Goepfert, program director, customer insights and analysis at IDC. "Almost all of the major banks around the world have highlighted that their [big data analytics] deployments are now a critical part of their competitive strategies. This is particularly the case on the retail banking side, as the banks develop their omnichannel strategies, seek to understand and respond to their customers' behavior, and build strategies for excellence in customer experience."

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.