The latest Gartner’s Worldwide IT Spending Report estimates global IT spending to grow 2% over the year to $3.7 trillion. By segment, telecom services will remain the largest sector with $1.66 trillion of the market and growing 0.9% over the year. IT Services are projected to grow 2.2% over the year to $0.93 trillion. Devices are expected to account for $0.7 trillion of the market, growing 2.8% over the year. Enterprise Software will account for the fastest growth at 6.4% to account for $0.3 trillion of the market and Data Center Systems will account for the remaining $0.14 trillion, reporting a 2% growth over the year. The researcher estimates IT spending to grow 4.1% next year to $3.88 trillion.
IBM’s Cloud and Big Data Expansion
IT giant, IBM (Nasdaq: IBM) is growing their presence within the enterprise software segment to ensure they get a bigger pie of this market. They have been focused on expanding their presence in the high growth cloud computing and big data market. Two years ago, IBM had expressed the seriousness of their growth strategy by announcing plans to spend over $20 billion in acquisitions. Within cloud computing, for instance, till date, IBM has spent over $6 billion on acquisitions. And, these investments are paying off. IBM estimates that their cloud business would be able to generate revenues of more than $7 billion by the year 2015. Big Data analytics is another high growth focus area and IBM now expects that segment to bring in revenues of $20 billion by 2015 instead of projections of $16 billion estimated earlier.
Continuing with these efforts, IBM recently announced the acquisition of Israel-based cyber security company, Trusteer, for an estimated $800 million. Trusteer offers cloud based services to help with fraud protection and organization security. Their products are used by 7 of the top 10 banks in the U.S. The acquisition will help grow IBM’s data security capabilities into the cloud, mobile and device security space.
They also acquired CSL International, another Israel based technology firm. CSL provides virtualization management technology and enables clients to manage their virtual environments through an easy to use, but powerful interface.
Within Big Data, earlier this month, IBM acquired privately held, U.K. based software provider, Daeja Image Systems for an undisclosed sum. Daeja’s offerings allow users interactive access to “hundreds of document and image file formats” irrespective of the presence of the native application on their devices. Through their application, users get faster access to business information. IBM plans to leverage Daeja’s capabilities to improve the way business data is viewed across the organization by adding interactive capabilities such as the ability to add comments and annotations while ensuring security and confidentiality of the process.
Besides acquisitions, IBM is also investing in infrastructure and research. They announced plans to commit $1 billion to help drive innovation on Linux and other opensource technologies. IBM hopes that the investment will help fuel innovation within the big data and cloud computing space. They opened a new data center in Peru at the Technology Campus of La Molina to cater to the needs of big data computing. And, to channel young minds, they have partnered with more than 1,000 higher education institutions worldwide to offer training curriculum that will focus on Big Data and analytics. Some of the universities they have partnered with include the University of Missouri, Dublin City University and the National University of Singapore to name a few.
Meanwhile, IBM reported their second quarter results where revenues fell 3.3% over the year to $24.92 billion with EPS of $3.91. The market was looking for revenues of $25.37 billion and EPS of $3.77 for the quarter.
By segment, systems-and-technology unit revenues reported a decline of 12% over the year to $3.8 billion, making it the seventh straight quarter of revenue decline. Software revenues grew 4.1% to $6.4 billion, while technology services were down 4.6% to $9.5 billion. Business services revenue fell 1.3%.
For the current year, IBM is expecting earnings of $16.90 per share, ahead of the Street’s target of $16.66.
Their stock is trading at $193.39 with a market capitalization of $211.84 billion. It touched a year high of $215.90 in March this year.
IBM remains a solid company, aligned with many of the most powerful trends in the industry. As we’ve seen in the past, the stock does offer buying opportunities periodically. A recent one came this August. There will be more, and when there is such an opportunity, I would buy and hold for the long term, especially in a couple of years when the Big Data business really starts to blossom.