More than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud computing during the next five years, according to Gartner Inc.

Potential shifts in computing approaches to take advantage of cloud computing thus will make it one of the most disruptive forces affecting IT spending since the early days of the digital age.

"Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world," said Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. "The market for cloud services has grown to such an extent that it is now a notable percentage of total IT spending, helping to create a new generation of start-ups and ‘born in the cloud’ providers."

IT spending is steadily shifting from traditional IT offerings to cloud services, which Gartner terms cloud shift. The aggregate amount of cloud shift in 2016 is estimated to reach $111 billion, increasing to $216 billion in 2020. Cloud shift rates are determined by comparing IT spending on cloud services with traditional non-cloud services in the same market categories.

In addition to the direct effects of cloud shift, many markets will be affected indirectly, Gartner said. Identifying indirect effects can help IT asset and purchasing managers ensure they are getting the best value out of new expenditures and are protected against risk, as well as helping them exploit the new opportunities caused by cloud shift, the firm says.

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.