The information technology (IT) industry is likely to experience moderate growth in 2014, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2014 released today by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT channel.
CompTIA’s consensus forecast projects a 2014 growth rate of 3.4 percent for the global IT industry, with upside potential of 5.9 percent. The U.S forecast is slightly lower: 3 percent, with upside potential of 5.4 percent.
By comparison, a recent United Nations forecast projected global economic growth at 3 percent worldwide and 2.5 percent in the U.S. for 2014.
CompTIA’s quarterly IT Industry Business Confidence Index increased 2.1 percentage points in Q1 2014, to 60.2 on a 100-point scale. The forward-looking component of the index projects a gain of 2.2 points, which if realized, would mark a record high in the five-plus year history of the survey. The index is based on IT executives’ opinions of the U.S. economy, the IT industry and their own company.
“The importance of technology to business success has never been greater as IT continues to transition from supporting tool to a strategic driver,” said Tim Herbert, vice president, research, CompTIA.
A range of technologies – cloud computing, mobile apps, big data and others – have gained a bigger foothold with customers over the past two years, he noted, though rising industry business confidence is offset to some degree by margin pressures in key product categories.
Looking ahead to 2014, IT services and software show the most growth potential, according to the CompTIA forecast. IT hardware is projected to grow at a slightly lower rate, due partially to more intense margin pressure.
On the employment front, 41 percent of IT companies plan increased investments in staffing in technical positions this year, compared to 15 percent that plan staffing decreases. Among non-technical positions, 32 percent of firms plan increases and 16 percent decreases. The data suggests medium-sized IT firms will be the most aggressive in hiring for both technical and non-technical positions.
Trends to Watch in 2014
CompTIA views 2014 as a year of momentum and continuation, as incremental advancements in several areas make their marks on the producers and consumers of technology. Twelve trends to watch over the next 12 months:
1. Technology becomes a core competency for more businesses.
2. Mass customization gets more sophisticated.
3. Processes and workflow get a makeover.
4. Technology is increasingly embraced as the remote control of life.
1. Cloud wars intensify.
2. Diverse devices flood the market.
3. Big data has a little sibling.
4. Software’s appetite is not satisfied.
IT Channel Trends
1. When it comes to your channel business, it’s OK to stay in two lanes.
2. Time to rebrand the “trusted advisor.”
3. Back to basics: Reinvesting in technical expertise.
4. Channel dynamics: Partner or competitor?
CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014 is the result of an online survey of 525 IT industry companies conducted in late December 2013.
This study and all CompTIA research is one way in which the association re-invests resources in the IT channel to help IT businesses expand and grow. The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA members. Visit www.comptia.org or contact [email protected]for details.