Digital Trends

Global government IT spending to reach $483 billion in 2021

The COVID-19 response—the vaccine rollout and public health and safety measures—will cause record-high increases in government purchases of devices and software, according to Gartner.

Image: iStock/Nuthawut Somsuk

The pandemic’s toll continues. While the coronavirus has yet to be contained nor herd immunity reached, its financial impact worldwide has been unprecedented. Global governments will spend a record amount of money on IT in 2021, a 5.1% growth from last year, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.  

“Government organizations continue to be challenged with the appropriate level of interventions to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Irma Fabular, senior research director at Gartner, in a press release. “Public health and safety measures, including vaccinating citizens are of paramount concern, which necessitate governments to continue to accelerate their digital transformation journey.”

Gartner pinpointed three segments poised to exceed 2021’s overall market growth: The software segment, which includes application, infrastructure, and vertical-specific software, will experience the strongest growth.

“Governments are innovating at a quicker pace by adopting commercially available technology solutions for operational and mission-critical needs,” Fabular continued. “We are seeing innovative use of technology and data to control and respond to the pandemic, as well as provide financial and humanitarian assistance.”

Gartner’s government IT spending forecast was accessed by segment and by comparing spending and growth in 2020 to predictions for 2021. 

The segments involved in the cost evaluation are IT services, software, telecom services, internal services, devices and data center.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Government budgets and spending continue to address the needs for community and businesses recovery and growth and investments to address digital equity and access to remote government services will be prioritized. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in the ability of government organizations to quickly respond, scale and secure essential services,” Fabular said. “Lessons learned from the responses by government organizations provide the impetus to increase resiliency and build for a stronger future for its citizens and businesses.” 

Gartner predicted that “the complexities of vaccine management mean we will be in this together well into 2022,” but despite the “end to the pandemic” being “in sight,” IT leaders, as well as those in other areas (CEO, CFO, HR, legal, IT and corporate communications) “still need an agile, decisive and data-driven strategy to navigate what could be an extended and volatile period while vaccines are distributed and administered.” 

Gartner strongly urged for the need to apply adaptive strategies to map out the direction an organization must take.

Predictions the company made in December 2020 were realized: “1. Demand currently exceeds supply and likely will into 2021 and 2. The complexities of vaccine management mean it will remain a major public health and economic driver in 2021, and into 2022 in some parts of the world.” 

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