Analysts may differ on the strength of the technology spending recovery, but they're increasingly in sync on believing that 2010 will see a healthy rise.
Both Forrester Research and Goldman Sachs recently updated their projections on technology spending in 2010, and both see global spending on the upswing: Forrester projects 8.1 percent growth while Goldman Sachs's new "Mapping 2010: Key Tech Trends to Watch" report forecasts a more conservative 5 percent growth.
It's fair to say, however, that technology vendors will be happy with either outcome, especially as the U.S. continues to shed jobs.
Or perhaps not. After all, the two analyses come to very different conclusions about who will drive the growth. While Forrester's outlook hinges on strong growth in developed markets with comparatively moderate back-up from emerging markets--(U.S. 6.6 percent), Western and Central Europe (11.2 percent), Canada (9.9 percent), Asia Pacific (7.8 percent) and Latin America (up 7.7 percent)--Goldman Sachs sees anemic 2 percent growth in developed countries and 11 percent growth in emerging economies.
If Forrester is right on developing economies, and Goldman Sachs is right on developed markets, 2010 may not be much for vendors to celebrate.
It may not be much for incumbents, anyway: Goldman Sachs sees a shift to the cloud and open source that will benefit companies like Google, VMware, and Red Hat, while hurting Dell, Microsoft, and Cisco.
Of course, on Wednesday the same IT executives surveyed by Goldman Sachs list Microsoft, Cisco, HP, and IBM as their most strategic vendors, so there's plenty of time to build or buy their ways back into CIOs' hearts...and wallets.
But getting cloud computing right, in particular, seems to be a major requirement, according to Goldman Sachs:
A major paradigm shift is under way in the IT industry, similar in importance to the transition from mainframes to client-server computing in the 1980s. Several disruptive technologies, most notably virtualization, are enabling the industry to transition from an in-house IT model to an outsourced cloud computing model. As a result, a number of "Techtonic" shifts in technology and business models are starting to take place.
Our recent checks with CIOs suggest that the downturn in the global economy has actually accelerated the shift to Cloud given its ability to materially lower long-term compute costs. Hence we expect 2010 to be an inflection year for adoption. While likely deflationary and disruptive over the long-term to the tech space given the consolidation of buyers and greater optimization, short-term we do expect the shift to act as an incremental spending driver.
Based on both Forrester's and Goldman Sachs' projections, vendors that can sell well into developing economies like the so-called "BRICs" should do well in 2010. Whether they want to continue doing well in 2012 and beyond, however, may well depend on their ability to deliver a solid cloud-computing product portfolio.
I'd therefore expect companies like VMware, but also VMops and Eucalyptus, to become takeover targets for established vendors looking to sweeten their offerings for CIOs.