Australian governments’ tech spent to soar in 2021: Gartner report

Gartner Australia Government Technology Spending

Australia’s public sector IT spend is forecast to swell to $13 billion in 2021, an increase of 6.2 per cent on last year’s figures, according to Gartner’s latest enterprise IT spending for government report.

Australia’s forecast spending growth rate also exceeds the anticipated global average, which is expected to increase a still considerable 5.1 per cent from 2020.

While all technology segments, including telecom and IT services, devices, and data centre spends are on track to grow next year, bouncing back from last year’s Covid shock, infrastructure and vertical-specific software are set to experience the strongest growth in 2021, increasing by 10.5 per cent, or $3.4 billion.

However, this still falls below last year’s expected software spend of 14.1 per cent for Australia – though Gartner’s forecast was likely made before the full consequences of the Covid pandemic were realised.

Spending on devices, including PCs and smartphones, is set to continue its upward trend, increasing 4.3 per cent this year off the back of a 7.4 per cent jump in 2020.

This aligns with a continued commitment by public sector organisations “to embrace remote work and connected public services” through 2021, Gartner said.

Data centre and telecom services spends are also set to reverse their negative growth trends from last year, increasing by 7.4 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively.

“We’re seeing the public sector changing IT operating models and innovating at a quicker pace by adopting commercially available technology solutions and software – particularly software-as-a-service,” said Gartner’s vice president, executive programs, Brian Ferreira.

“Government budgets will continue to address recovery and growth needs of communities and businesses in 2021. In addition, investments to address digital equity and access to remote government services will be prioritised,” he added.

Ferreira notes that public health and safety, “including vaccinating citizens, are top-order concerns for the public sector, “pushing them to continue to accelerate their digital transformation”.

“Most technology spend is now linked to digital programs, for example, cybersecurity and digital identity programs.”