North American companies will spend about 2.3 percent more than last year on information technology (IT), according to the report. The expected growth would follow after more than a year ofgrowth.
"The good new is it hasn't gotten worse since the beginning of the year," Forrester analyst Tom Pohlmann said. "We're looking at it as a sign the market is stabilizing."
Forrester's semiannual Business Technographics survey is based on interviews with technology executives at major North American companies regarding their IT spending plans and attitudes. Pohlmann said the most striking part of the latest survey was a resurgence in corporate commitment to IT. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed described their companies as willing to "spend what it takes" to achieve IT goals, compared with 36 percent at the beginning of the year.
"Sentiments have improved a lot compared with the beginning of the year," Pohlmann said. "The economy is still limping along...but at the beginning of the year we were still in the middle of the post-9/11 feelings, with a lot of wondering about how much lower things would go."
Areas expected to see growth include bedrock technology hardware such as storage and servers and projects focused on data warehousing and data mining: "Anything that deals with getting this information companies have in their data warehouses into the hands of decisions makers," Pohlmann said.
Research firm IDC last week3.7 growth for IT spending this year, as a fourth-quarter surge paves the way for a full-fledged recovery in 2003.