Enterprise IT spending in the education and healthcare provider sectors is expected to accelerate by 2021 following a bounce-back across all Australian industry sectors.
These two sectors, along with utilities, have been some of the most resilient in terms of the pandemic's impact on technology spending during 2020, according to research firm Gartner.
However, a longer-term observation predicts more growth in enterprise IT spending for education and healthcare providers while the utility sector is expected to fall by the wayside.
Overall, Australia’s enterprise IT spending across all industries is forecast to decline by 2.8 per cent in 2020 to $92.5 billion, followed by an increase of 3.6 per cent in 2021 to $95.8 billion.
In 2020, Gartner predicted the education sector will grow its enterprise IT spend by 3 per cent, to $2.9 billion, healthcare by 2.1 per cent, to $3 billion, and utilities by 6.6 per cent, to $3.6 billion.
One year later in 2021 however, the education and healthcare sectors are anticipated to increase their enterprise IT spend by 8.6 per cent, to $3.1 billion, and 8.2 per cent, to $3.2 billion, respectively.
The forecast growth in education, according to Gartner, is attributed to increased investments in laptops, tablets, communication and collaboration technologies for online learning.
Additionally, COVID-19 and contract tracing capabilities also expected to see continued investment, as well as research institutions and public health schools contributing to COVID-19 related research.
Meanwhile, the uptick in IT spending by healthcare providers is predicted to funnel through to legacy technology optimisation, digital transformation projects and data-driven decision-making solutions.
Internet of things (IoT) technologies are also expected to increase the already growing interest in BI/analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) projects.
As for the utilitiy sector, its enterprise IT spending for 2021 is forecast to decline by 4 per cent, to $3.5 billion.
The government and banking and securities sectors are the only other industries forecast to grow both this year and next, with government IT enterprise spending predicted to increase by 5.5 per cent in 2020, to $12.7 billion, and 4.7 per cent in 2021, to $13.2 billion.
The growth in the banking and securities sector is mild by comparison, with 1.8 per cent expected in 2020, to $18.5 billion, and 4.5 per cent in 2021, to $19.3 billion.
At the other end of the scale, the transportation and the manufacturing and natural resources sectors are predicted to be hit the hardest this year in terms of enterprise IT spending, falling by 15.5 per cent, to $4.8 billion, and 11.6 per cent, $16 billion, respectively.
“These companies are in the top three sectors for technology spending in Australia, but as they are designed for continuous operation they simply can’t respond to external factors as quickly as a retailer, for example,” said Kristian Steenstrup, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.
“The physical nature of asset-intensive industries makes it harder for employees to work from home.”
These sectors will then attempt to claw their way back into enterprise IT spending growth, with transportation to increase its spending by 10.4 per cent, to $5.3 billion, and manufacturing and natural resources to bring its spending up slightly by 0.4 per cent, to $16.063 billion.
The only other outlier is the wholesale trade industry, which is forecast to see enterprise IT spending decline by 2.5 per cent, to $2.3 billion, but then more than make up for it with its 2021 growth of 5.4 per cent, to $2.4 billion.