Worldwide spending on information technology is on track to surpass $3.6 trillion in 2012, a 3 percent increase from 2011 spending of $3.5 trillion, instead of a previously forecast 2.5 percent gain, according to research firm Gartner's revised 2012 IT spending outlook.

While the challenges facing global economic growth persist -- the euro zone crisis, weaker U.S. recovery, a slowdown in China -- the outlook has at least stabilized, said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner.

There has been little change in either business confidence or consumer sentiment in the past quarter, so the short-term outlook is for continued caution in IT spending.

However, according to Gartner, there are some bright spots for IT providers. In contrast to the rather lackluster growth outlook for overall IT spending, Gartner expects enterprise spending on public cloud services to grow from $91 billion worldwide in 2011 to $109 billion in 2012. By 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion.

Gartner

Gartner (July 2012)

Within the total IT spending, worldwide IT services spending is forecast to reach $864 billion in 2012, a 2.3 percent increase from 2011. Demand for consulting services is expected to remain high due to the complexity of environments for global business and technology leaders. Gartner analysts said consulting itself was becoming increasingly technology-based with the rise of analytics and big data, having deep implications on the future of consulting services.

The global telecom services market continues to be the largest IT spending market. Telecom services growth is expected to come not only from net connections, especially in the emerging markets, but also in the mature markets from the uptake of multiple connected devices, such as media tablets, gaming and other consumer electronics devices.

Gartner's global IT spending forecast is relied upon by more than 75 percent of the Global 500 companies in their key technology decisions.