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Tech Industry

Support services buck technology slowdown

While computer hardware and software sales have been hurting, companies haven't cut spending on IT support services, according to a report from research firm Gartner.

While computer hardware and software sales have been hurting, companies haven't cut spending on IT support services, according to a report from research firm Gartner.

Gartner analysts released on Friday the results of a survey taken in January of 2001, indicating that over 250 companies of all sizes plan to increase their spending on hardware and software support services between 2001 and 2003.

When companies purchase hardware and software products, they also buy support services to maintain and protect their investments in those products. Companies have been cutting back on purchases of technology products as the overall economy has slowed. But the study suggests the overall slowdown will not affect the support industry.

"What CIOs tell us is that, where possible, they are putting off spending on technology products," said Gartner analyst Bob Igou. "But in maintenance, that's an area they have to protect, so they will continue spending...That's similar to being recession proof."

Of the 250 companies surveyed, 52 percent are expected to increase their spending on external hardware support services and 63 percent are expected to increase spending on software services. The average increase in spending for hardware support will be about 28 percent and about 27 percent for software support.

Hardware support services for local area network servers will account for 30 percent of spending, and storage devices will account for 47 percent.

Gartner estimated that companies spent $111.5 billion on hardware support services last year and expects that figure to grow 5 percent yearly until 2005. Spending on software services support was about $60.6 billion in 2000, and Gartner projects that will grow 16 percent yearly until 2005.