The Government is five times more likely to increase IT spending in 2006 than the entire rest of the Irish market, according to the annual IDC Trends and Expenditure in Ireland survey.
This is the first time that there has been such a stark contrast between public and private sectors, according to IDC sales manager Keith Gaffney who advised an audience of vendors to allocate as much of their resources as they could to the public sector.
The possible caveat is that the survey took place between May and June this year, prior to the fallout from the PPARS affair. Gaffney conceded that it could have some impact on the IDC predictions though experience has taught the analysts that while there is often a short-term effect when high-profile IT disasters occur, the long-term impact on spending is negligible. He did warn, however, that the Government plan to introduce ministerial sign-off around IT projects would almost certainly slow down the implementation process.
Of the 301 interviewees taking part in the survey, 49 were from the public sector. Participants included 13 government departments, several local government departments and a single health organisation.
Highlighting what ID described as a “bullish” attitude, 62pc of government departments said they expected it to increase their IT spend in 2006 compared to only 42pc in the private sector.
The growth comes after something of a slowdown in 2004, which IDC attributes of a number of factors. “Decentralisation was somewhat of an inhibitor for spending people didn’t know where they were going to be and what infrastructure was required,” said Gaffney. “We think there’s now some light at the end of the tunnel as far as decentralisation is concerned. And hardware refresh will be more necessary that will further drive spending.”
When the public sector was asked what areas of IT were most likely to receive additional investment, security came out top followed by mobile computing, wireless networking, content and document management and e-commerce.
The survey revealed that the public sector was twice as likely to spend on these solutions in the next 12 months than the rest of the market.
Gaffney described the projected government spends as “a massive opportunity” for Ireland’s ICT vendor community. IDC said the total IT market in Ireland was now worth €2.2bn.
By Ian Campbell