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IDC Is Bullish On IT Spending, Standards Adoption

IT spending will make a big jump, leading high-tech vendors will see standards-based products as the center of their future and foreign outsourcing of IT services will continue to grow are just some of the 2004 predictions made Thursday by market researcher IDC.

Topping the firm's 10 predictions for next year was a change upward in its early forecast for IT spending worldwide. IDC, which stands for International Data Corp., believes spending will grow by 6 percent to 8 percent from this year. The firm had predicted earlier this year a 4.9 percent increase.

"Key to our positive outlook is that good economic news has been emerging while 2004 IT and business investment budgets are being set," the analyst firm said in its forecast report. "Another factor is that -- in an election year in the U.S. -- the administration certainly will pull out the stops to keep the good news coming."

On a cautionary note, however, market optimism is still fragile, so any series of bad economic news in 2004 could cause companies to quickly zip up their wallets.

On IT standards, next year will be the first year that all of the leading software and hardware players will see standards-based products as the center of their future, as opposed to just a fast-growing product segment. The year will test major players on whether they can commit their organizations to this model and still differentiate themselves in the market without the protection of proprietary technology.

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