Google Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alphabet, has turned profitable at an operating level for the first time ever, despite fears of macroeconomic uncertainty.  

Google Cloud posted an operating income of $191 million for the quarter ended March, compared with an operating loss of $706 million for the corresponding period last year.

The unit’s revenue grew 28% to $7.45 billion during the quarter, resulting in an operating margin of 2.6%.

“We have consistently grown top line revenue and improved annual operating margin, and we continue to do so this quarter. Our growth has come from our deep relationships with large enterprises, a strong partner ecosystem, and our product leadership,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said during an earnings call.

“Over the past 3 years, GCP’s annual deal volume has grown nearly 500%, with large deals over $250 million growing more than 300%. Nearly 60% of the world’s 1,000 largest companies are Google Cloud customers, and many leading startups and millions of small and medium enterprises use Google Cloud,” Pichai said.

Google Cloud’s mounting losses for the past few years could be attributed to the continued investments, especially in data centers. The company has been making these investments to compete better with larger rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

In March, Google Cloud announced plans to open a second Middle Eastern region in Qatar. In October last year, Google announced it would open new regions across Austria, Greece, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden to supplement new regions announced in August for New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mexico.

Reduced customer expenditure slowing revenue growth

Alphabet’s cloud computing arm continues to see a slowdown in revenue growth over the past few quarters.

For the March quarter, revenue growth for the unit came in at 28% year-on-year, four percentage points slower than the December quarter, which saw 32% year-on-year growth. The previous sequential quarter that ended in September registered an ever stronger growth of 38% year-on-year.

“In Q1, we continued to see slower growth of consumption as customers optimized GCP costs reflecting the macro backdrop, which remains uncertain,” Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said during the earnings call.

The company, according to CEO Pichai, has been trying to help enterprise customers optimize their spending during this period of uncertainty.

“I would add, that we are leaning into optimization. I mean there is an important moment to help our customers, and we take a long-term view. And so, it’s definitely an area we are leaning in and trying to help customers make progress in their efficiencies where we can,” Pichai said during the call.

Google Cloud is growing much faster than its parent Alphabet. For the March quarter, Alphabet posted total revenue of $69.78 billion with Search continuing to be the largest contributor with a $40.35 billion share. Revenue for the entire company was up only 3% year-on-year.

Alphabet, which laid off 12,000 employees in the beginning of the year, said it will continue to hire top engineering and technical talent while investing in areas of priority.

Cloud Computing, Google

The year ahead is likely to be characterised by recessionary pressures in key global economies, increasing borrowing costs, unpredictable supply chains, oil price uncertainty, and volatile demand. 

Regardless of the challenges of the past few years and the hurdles ahead, digital transformation investments in the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa (META) are set to more than double across the 2021–2026 period, according to the latest forecast from IDC. 

The global technology research, consulting, and events firm says that digital transformation spending in the region will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 16% over the five-year period, topping 74 billion USD in 2026 and accounting for 43.2% of all ICT investments made that year.

At the recent IDC Directions event in Dubai, Steven Frantzen, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director EMEA at IDC stressed how crucial it is for tech leaders to keep focused on the future and be customer-centric.  “It’s important for every tech leader to think about the near, mid and long-term when it comes to technology. You need to work with your customer by continuing investment in digital transformation, but how do we help our customers?”

“We heard about the global recession, in the Middle East we continue to see economic growth in every sector, but if you are a large market in the USA or Europe, it will also affect your business here.”

Frantzen said many are expecting a recession in the coming year. “According to a survey made by IDC, 75% say yes, so we need to manage the recession for the long term because companies are not cutting spending in technologies, spending on digital technology by organizations will grow at eight times the economy in 2023, establishing a foundation for operational excellence, competitive differentiation and long term growth.”

At the Directions event, it was made clear that the digital and tech investments made by companies during the pandemic to build resilience could be put to test in 2023. This may be seen across key business areas such as customer experience, operations, and financial management, among others. 

According to Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the META region: “The implementation of further digitalization in critical areas and a more rapid shift to a ‘digital business’ approach will be key to separating the thrivers from the survivors.”

The region is expecting to see digital transformation spending as a share of overall IT spend continue to grow, reaching 43.2% in 2026, up from just 29.4% in 2021.

Digital Transformation

Even as enterprises attempt to tackle economic headwinds with budget cutbacks, a research report from market research firm Gartner showed that end-user public cloud spending is expected to grow in 2023.

The report, which covers categories such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) among other cloud services, showed that public cloud spending is slated to reach a total of $591.80 billion in 2023, a 20.7% increase from $490.30 billion in 2022.

The 20.7% growth in spending is higher than the 18.8% growth recorded in 2022.  

“Current inflationary pressures and macroeconomic conditions are having a push and pull effect on cloud spending. Cloud computing will continue to be a bastion of safety and innovation, supporting growth during uncertain times due to its agile, elastic and scalable nature,” said Sid Nag, a vice president and analyst at Gartner.

Infrastructure-as-a-service to outpace other services in growth

Out of all the public cloud services, IaaS is expected to see the highest growth in 2023 with spending expected to reach $150.25 billion, an increase of 29.8% from $115.74 billion in 2022.

The reason for the growth, according to Gartner, is continued migration of enterprises to the cloud.

“IaaS will naturally continue to grow as businesses accelerate IT modernization initiatives to minimize risk and optimize costs,” Nag said, adding that moving operations to the cloud also reduces capital expenditures by extending cash outlays over a subscription term.

This benefit will play a vital role during times of economic uncertainty as cash will be critical to maintaining operations for an enterprise, the analyst said.

PaaS and SaaS to grow despite challenges

SaaS is expected to grow but might see the most impact from an economic downturn due to staffing challenges and enterprises’ focus on margin protection because of inflation, according to Gartner.

“Higher-wage and more skilled staff are required to develop modern SaaS applications, so organizations will be challenged as hiring is reduced to control costs,” said Nag.

SaaS spending is expected to reach $195.20 billion in 2023, an increase of 16.8% from $167.10 billion in 2022. SaaS spending in 2021 was estimated at $146.32 billion.

Explaining the continued growth in SaaS services, Nag said that cloud spending will grow due to its “perpetual” usage.

“Once applications and workloads move to the cloud they generally stay there, and subscription models ensure that spending will continue through the term of the contract and most likely well beyond,” Nag said.

PaaS spending is expected to grow by 23.2% to reach $136.40 billion in 2023 compared to $110.67 billion in 2022.

The growth in PaaS services can be attributed to its ability to facilitate more efficient and automated code generation for SaaS applications, according to the market research firm.

However, despite the generally upbeat outlook, Gartner cautioned that if enterprises end up deciding to make large budget cuts, cloud spending could be affected since it forms the biggest chunk of any IT budget.

“Cloud spending could decrease if overall IT budgets shrink, given that cloud continues to be the largest chunk of IT spend and proportionate budget growth,” said Nag.

Other public cloud services such as security capabilities, business process services (BPaaS), and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) are all expected to grow in 2023, the report showed.

Budgeting, Cloud Computing

Workflow automation provider ServiceNow on Wednesday said it remained optimistic about growth for the rest of the year, despite the uncertain macroeconomic environment, hoping the situation will in fact boost demand for its offerings.

“As you know, they (enterprises) are either not hiring, they’re laying people off, and they have to do more with less. We’re built for that,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of ServiceNow, during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s third-quarter earnings.

“They need the computers and the platforms to do the work so that people have a more pleasant experience on the employee side … we take care of that,” McDermott said, according to a Motley Fool transcript

Though the company is not immune to the macroeconomic environment, its sales team is preparing for uncertainties by doubling down on staying closer to the customer to understand their needs, added company CFO Gina Mastantuono.

In fact, Mastantuono said the company will continue to keep hiring for the rest of year, in contrast with several large technology companies—such as Google, Oracle and Microsoft—that have been laying off large number of employees.

“ServiceNow is hiring and will continue to hire and we are investing for growth. So, we are absolutely committed to continuing to build up our world-class, go-to-market organization,” Mastantuono said, adding that ServiceNow will also hire critical engineering staff.

ServiceNow reports robust Q3 results

ServiceNow reported strong quarterly results Wednesday, with 25% year-on-year growth in revenue backed by at least 69 deals that were worth over $1 million each.

The company reported total revenue of $1.83 billion for the quarter, with subscription revenues accounting for $1.74 billon, an increase of 28.5% year-on-year, without considering the effect of currency fluctuations.

Multiple products including IT service management (ITSM), IT operations management (ITOM), Customer and Employee Workflows and Creator Workflows were included in the top 20 deals signed by the company, McDermott added, pointing out the diversification of the company’s products portfolio and increasing customer awareness.

“In Q3, both ITSM and ITOM were in 17 of our top 20 deals, with six deals each over $1 million. Security and risk were in 15 of the top 20 with five deals over $1 million,” McDermott said.

Customer and Employee Workflows were also a part of 12 of the top 20 deals signed during the quarter in question, along with Creator Workflows, which featured in all the top 20 deals, the CEO added.

The company reported that it had a total of 1,530 customers with more than $1 million in annual contract value by the end of September.

The number of customers paying over $10 million in annual contract value grew 60% year‑over‑year by the end of September.

ServiceNow announces new training program

ServiceNow has also introduced the RiseUp with ServiceNow program, aimed at training  one million ServiceNow certified professionals by 2024.

As part of the program, the company will offer 600 free courses along with 18 job-related certification paths.

Service Management Software, ServiceNow, Technology Industry

Outsourcing continues to be an essential function for IT leaders given their growing laundry list of technology requirements.

Historically, IT outsourcing has largely been seen as an opportunity to drive cost savings and efficiency, or for technology teams to specialise in a limited number of core areas. And while those benefits remain, outsourcing’s value has shifted in recent years.

In their efforts to drive transformation and continue to deliver at the unprecedented levels seen through the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s CIOs are increasingly reliant on onshore (within the same country), nearshore (to a nearby country or in the same time zone), offshore (to a distant country) and cloud computing providers to bolster teams, focus in-house staff on core operations, improve service delivery and round out the IT function, and oversee tasks as varied as help desk support, software development and disaster recovery.

So getting IT outsourcing right isn’t always straightforward.

IT outsourcing market continues to expand

IT outsourcing vendors offer everything from a fully managed service to providing additional, ad hoc support, and it’s a market that has continued to blossom.

In Gartner’s IT spending forecast last year, the analyst firm said global IT spending would reach $1.19 trillion in 2021, with worldwide spend on consultancy and implementation services, and IT-centric managed services, infrastructure and application support, expected to come in at $490 billion and $475 billion, respectively.

Separately, the Global Industry Analytics report proclaimed that the value of the IT outsourcing market would grow by 5% year-on-year between 2020 and 2024.

Some industry observers say that this was, in part, brought on by the pandemic pushing IT leaders to accelerate digital transformation initiatives, expedite project delivery and supplement resource shortcomings, not least through the widely-publicised IT skills gap and Great Resignation.

In a survey of 200 companies across industries, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 79% of organisations had asked service providers for help in some form through COVID-19, such as for longer payment terms (47%), price reductions (45%), or free support for more processes or additional services (41%).

John-David Lovelock, distinguished research VP at Gartner, believes acceleration of technology is facilitated by more influential IT leaders, adeptly supported by trusted third parties.

“2022 is the year that the future returns for the CIO,” he said. “They are now in a position to move beyond the critical, short-term projects over the past two years and focus on the long-term. Simultaneously, staff skills gaps, wage inflation and the war for talent will push CIOs to rely more on consultancies and managed service firms to pursue their digital strategies.”

IT outsourcing benefits move beyond cost control

IT outsourcing is a flourishing $92.6 billion market, says Forrester senior analyst Jeffrey Rajamani, who adds that partners can offer CIOs greater stability in an uncertain market while helping them to be more creative and resilient.

He does, however, believe that cost control is no longer the primary benefit. He cites Delta Air Lines as an example, which outsourced to IBM in 2016 to reduce costs through bankruptcy, only to strike a more recent agreement in 2020 to concentrate on cloud migration and application modernisation.

“From IT maintenance to CRM to BPO, outsourcing is firmly ingrained in company culture and is becoming central to the smooth operation of the world’s big firms,” says Rajamani. “Cost-reduction was the number-one goal of outsourcing, but that’s gradually changing. Organisations are meanwhile outsourcing not just for efficiency but for effectiveness, access to skills, and for focusing on core business, cutting-edge innovation, modernisation and business transformation.”

Kaveh Pourteymour, former Neptune Energy CIO and current head of business partnering and projects at Rio Tinto, says outsourcing consideration needs to be part of the organisation’s overall digital strategy, which describes the capabilities it needs to have internally, and what can be safely sourced externally.

“The principle I’ve pursued is to have in-house capability that understands and manages the end-to-end IT value chain, from business partnering to supplier management, and uses outsourcing partners to deliver components of it.”

He adds that outsourcing can drive efficiency as organisations get instant access to talent to serve a “geographically diverse operation” as well as well-established methodologies and approaches that bring consistency to how IT services are delivered.. It’s also a chance to gain access to IT specialists, so long as you still make them feel like part of the team.

For experienced IT leader Kelly Olsen, now CIO of professional services firm PA Consulting, outsourcing gives organisations the advantage of adding expertise and skills, or keeping up in an advancing field such as cybersecurity or business intelligence (BI). It does, however, need to be more based on partnerships than it has been if both parties are to derive value from the contract.

“I think people are now thinking about it much more strategically, and being able to burst the team, for example,” she says. “It’s more than body shopping…because [the partners] know you; they understand you.”

For Shauna McMahon, CIO at Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust, this reliance on third parties has become critical at a time of talent shortages and budgetary constraints in already over-stretched health and social care.

“If you can’t recruit to roles and you’ve tried a number of options, outsourcing may be the only option,” she says, adding that she’s used outsourcing when having a “hard stop” on production targets, for rapid delivery, and to fill talent shortages on a short-term and longer-term basis.

Outsourcing IT for application development, cloud migration and security

If the value of outsourcing is established, harder questions for today’s CIO revolve around what and when they outsource, and to whom.

Pourteymour, believes that leaders should only look to outsource the service if it’s a commodity and can be bought and delivered faster, more efficiently or more professionally than in-house service, or if it requires certain specialist skills, such as application management, for example.

In addition, he says that CIOs may also come to this decision when the service can be enriched by experience from other customers, like a shared security operations centre or if the SLA required by the business is too difficult to deliver in-house.

There’s a belief, too, that the types of applications and workloads being outsourced are changing.

According to IEEE Computer Society’s 2021/2021 IT Outsourcing Statistics report, the most commonly outsourced function within IT today is application development (56%), although IT leaders also outsource helpdesk and desktop support, networking monitoring and management, system implementation and integration tasks, as well as backup and disaster recovery services.

Pourteymour sees four immediate areas worthy of consideration: server/infrastructure management, data centre management, applications management, and helpdesk and workplace services, such as laptops and software patching. Meanwhile, McMahon has recently outsourced records management, storage, digital transcriptions, components of cybersecurity and device management, as well as data warehouse management.

“I am currently outsourcing data warehouse management so my internal team is able to focus on the business intelligence, insights and data analytics, and drive value forward for our operational and clinical areas,” she says. “In healthcare, I don’t need to build and have skills to manage a data warehouse—that can be done in the cloud by other experts.”

For Forrester’s Rajamani, though, data centre consolidation and cloud migration in particular are pushing CIOs into new relationships, often in the search of outside “perspective, orchestration skills, assets and speed”.

Minding the pitfalls of outcome-based IT outsourcing

Olsen and Rajamani say the outsourcing market is moving to become more outcome-driven with value-focused pricing, with Rajamani adding the former is an “engagementstructure that explicitly targets business-oriented goals, including cost savings, time-to-market, higher revenues, or customer acquisition/retention”.

“The key for outcome-based pricing is that the contract terms focus on business value delivered with shared accountability,” he says, adding that IT outsourcing is moving to become more product and platform-centric, and more co-creative and business focused with partners. This means less of a focus on transactional IT and cost, and a step toward co-creation to move away from long-winded RFP processes.

The Forrester analyst also says there’s greater use of automation, from chatbots to RPA, in order to drive efficiency, costs savings and better customer satisfaction, as well as a switch from SLAs to so-called experience-level agreements, which measure the performance of IT by quantifying the end-user experience and IT service outcomes.

There are, however, still dangers CIOs need to be aware of when it comes to IT outsourcing. Cost savings can be a trap, culture differences across teams can remain, time-to-market benefits aren’t always realised, and contracts can contain loopholes or grey areas.

PA Consulting’s Olsen encourages IT leaders to review the small print of contracts, but also give the third-party space and energy to deliver innovation beyond BAU.

“There’s no point in writing a contract where it’s so punitive that neither company is going to get what they want at the end of the day,” she says. “So make sure the contract is clear.”

She also believes in-house teams should make sure third parties are capable from the start of the project.

“Don’t outsource a problem,” she says. “Make sure that whatever you’re handing over is in good order. Give your partner a fighting chance.”

Rajamani also highlights that although cost was long replaced by value, many firms are still using cost savings to measure the success of outsourcing, with bad estimates sometimes provided by service providers owing a lack of proficiency. “The result of this inaccuracy is failed deadlines on scheduled campaigns,” he says, “which hurts much more than pure money loss.”

IT Leadership, Outsourcing

A report issued Monday by private investment company Bain Capital indicated that, despite the numerous disruptions to the technology industry—including a global supply chain crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—most IT decision makers foresee either stable budgets or increases for the coming year.

Over the past two years, the pandemic’s effects on that figure have been noticeable—at the onset, less than half of those polled said that they expected anything but a decrease in their budget for the coming year. The number changed rapidly as the economy emerged from the worst effects of the COVID crisis, however, with 75% in 2021 and 90% in 2022 saying that they expected stable or increasing budgets to come.

That number shrank in the latest report—to 77%—but that’s still an indicator of strong demand for products and services in a sector that’s still facing more than its share of headwinds, according to the head of Bain’s global technology practice, David Crawford.

“CIOs and CTOs are increasing their technology spending,” he wrote in the report. “Of course, there may be budget pressure in the future, but over the long term, to them—and to us—tech is not so much a cost as an investment that spurs productivity.”

Much of the report is devoted to vendors and their potential best moves to weather a tough economic situation, which offers some insight into what IT departments can expect from companies they deal with in the future.

Along with changes to streamline sales and reduce travel, businesses can expect some of their vendors to move in the direction of consumption-based pricing, thanks to higher demand for that model, and to do more strategic work around product development, as Bain’s research shows that return on investment for R&D spending is frequently not at the level that management is looking for.

The chip shortage, according to Bain, is gradually easing, but recovery isn’t unlikely to be particularly fast or painless. Given global economic conditions, a simple lessening of demand may be one of the most important contributing factors to the silicon market’s recovery, and the company’s researchers identified two other factors likely to determine how short—or long—the recovery is.

Extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment—$150 million machines that are necessary for the latest generation of silicon, and are only made by one manufacturer—represents a present bottleneck to building out fabrication capability.

Moreover, geopolitical friction among numerous countries presents its own stumbling blocks to recovery, as import restrictions make it difficult to source key resources. Russia’s restriction on the sale of noble gases like neon, which is important to silicon fabrication, Japan’s tightening of control over the supply of high-purity hydrogen fluoride, and similar trade issues are likely to exacerbate the chip shortage in the short term unless those issues can be resolved.

Budgeting, IT Strategy, Technology Industry

Global spending on software will continue to grow despite headwinds in the form of inflation, geopolitical risks and labor shortages, a new report from Forrester shows.

Driven to a large degree by deployment of cloud and enterprise applications, software spending worldwide is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2021 to 2023—more than two times faster than the rate of spending in other segments of IT, which is forecast to be 4.4%, according to the market research firm.

The report, which is based on a survey of 657 publicly traded software companies, forecasts that dramatic macroeconomic conditions and other factors will have little to modest impact due to the “underlying strength” of the software industry fundamentals.

More than half of the companies surveyed are expected to grow revenue at a medium pace, or between 10% and 20%, the report says, adding that leading software vendors will see another year of solid revenue and profit, albeit at a slower pace than 2021.

The report also shows that software has been the fastest growing category within enterprise IT budgets,  and has delivered high revenue growth rates consistently for vendors.

Cloud to drive enterprise software growth

Enterprise software—including application and infrastructure software—is expected to grow by 12% growth in 2022, buoyed by investment in cloud technology as a result of accelerated digital transformation efforts due to the pandemic, the report says.

“Investment in cloud to modernize legacy applications will drive strong software sales momentum in front- and back-office applications,” the report reads.

The application software market will see a 11.4% CAGR in 2022 and 2023, exceeding $400 billion, Forrester says. Front-office apps—such as CRM software and industry vertical programs—will grow the fastest in this segment, according to the report, which forecasts the $64 billion CRM market to grow by 11.9% in 2022.

ERP application sales are expected to increase at a rate of 10.4% in 2022, also driven by digital transformation efforts. Sales of content and collaboration software, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack, are expected to grow at a rate of 11.9%, according to the report.

Sales of custom-built software for various internal divisions across enterprises, which Forrester defines as vertical software, are also expected to grow.

Infrastructure software sales to increase by 12.6%

Infrastructure software sales, meanwhile, are expected to grow at a rate of 12.6% in 2022 and 2023 to exceed $400 billion, driven by the evolution of legacy database technology and investments in devops and database management software, according to Forrester.

Within the infrastructure software category, database management software is expected to grow at 12.8%, driven by demand for real-time analytics.

Further, tech management software, another subcategory within infrastructure software, is expected to maintain growth momentum of 13.1%, driven by the trend for businesses to modernize their tech stacks with complex serverless architectures and containers.

However, security software—also considered by Forrester to be infrastructure software—is expected to grow fastest, at a CAGR of 15.4%, due to multiple attack incidents and geopolitical challenges such as the Russia-Ukraine war.

Software has room for continued growth

Aggregate market capitalization of publicly traded software companies increased from $718 billion in April 2010 to $5.4 trillion currently—equating to a CAGR of 18%, according to the report. The survey also shows that the software sector accounts for only 5.9% of total  global market cap of public companies, indicating more room for growth.

Another reason for continued growth can be attributed to software vendors’ ability to raise prices consistently without losing demand, as software forms a critical part of day-to-day operations, the report says, adding that this strategy results in high and stable margins for vendors.

Companies that have raised prices recently include the likes of Adobe and Microsoft.  

Profit margins, which could be as high as 70% on average, allow software vendors to strategize while weathering challenges such as uncertain macroeconomic conditions, the report says.

Enterprise Applications, Technology Industry

Plummeting sales of printers and PCs and a growing inflation crisis aside, IT spending will remain strong through 2022, rising 3% year-over-year to a total of $4.5 trillion, according to projections released by Gartner Research.

The 3% increase in total IT spending represents slower growth than in 2021, as the economy as a whole and the IT sector in particular began to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and growth will largely be driven by cloud services and the data center, Gartner said.

According to John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, inflationary pressures are top-of-mind for most IT decision-makers at the moment, which creates a degree of uncertainty—high prices today could become even higher tomorrow.

“Organizations that do not invest in the short term will likely fall behind in the medium term and risk not being around in the long term,” warned Lovelock in a statement. “The current levels of volatility seen in both inflation and currency exchange rates is not expected to deter CIOs’ investment plans for 2022.”

Inflation is making itself felt in another way, as well, in combination with economic uncertainty driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine—enterprises are moving heavily away from an ownership model of IT to a service-based one, with cloud spending expected to rise by 22.1% in 2022, according to Gartner.

It’s not all doom-and-gloom for the hardware sector, either, however, as this increased demand for cloud services will push hyperscalers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google to build out capacity. An annual growth rate of 16.6% for server spending will go some way to offset the projected 5% drop in PC, tablet and printer sales, Gartner’s predictions indicated.

Managed services on the rise

The IT talent crunch, as well, has complicated IT spending analysis, Gartner noted. Service providers have been forced to increase prices in order to offer more competitive compensation, which is another factor pushing CIOs toward managed services and the cloud, as hiring in-house IT staff becomes more and more expensive.

These market trends could put small and medium-size businesses, in particular, in a difficult position, according to Gartner senior principal analyst Linglan Wang. Higher prices, combined with a sharper motivation to invest in IT sooner rather than later, is likely to be much less of a financial headache for large enterprises than it is for SMBs.

“Polarization is certainly seen across all IT markets, with a ‘big becoming bigger, winner takes all’ situation,” she said. “We forecast this trend is going to continue over the next couple of years.”

Cloud Computing, Data Center, Technology Industry