Much ado about one per cent

Info-Tech Research has projected an increase in Canadian IT spending that was slightly higher than that forecast by rival IDC Canada earlier this year. Server, storage and software investments will drive an overall jump of about 5.5 per cent in Canada this year, according to London, Ont.-based Info-Tech.

This will lead to an overall boost in IT spending from $82.97 billion to $86.56 billion, with longer-term growth of more than $100 billion expected by the end of the decade.

In January, Toronto-based IDC Canada predicted somewhat lower growth of four to five per cent this year, leading to an overall market opportunity to $78.4 billion.

Info-Tech Research Group managing director Michael O’Neil said the difference was due to the fact that IDC bases its forecast on information reported by vendors, whereas Info-Tech conducted surveys with 11,000 responses. O’Neil is a former country manager of IDC Canada.

“It’s a different perspective on the market,” he said. “Most of the forecasts you would have seen . . . are based primarily on supply-side input.”

IDC Canada managing director Vito Mabrucco took issue with that statement, insisting that, like Info-Tech, IDC also conducts more than 10,000 end-user surveys each year. An accurate forecast has to be based on both, Mabrucco said, because you need to look at the actual revenues of various vendors.

“If someone wanted to size the car market and all they did is interview by people who bought cars, you couldn’t do it that way,” he said.

Mabrucco said companies should care about the way forecasts are made because the IT market is so complex and can be influenced by a variety of factors.

The dustup underscores the budding rivalry between IDC Canada, a local arm of a large multinationalresearch firm, and Info-Tech, which has been slowly offering similar products and services to Canadian and U.S. firms. Despite the differences, however, the two firms seem to arrive at the same conclusions on market spending trends.

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