The average corporate IT operating expenditure per year is approximately 2.3% of company revenue. In 2015, you’ll see at least that much being spent on technology just from the marketing department, ostensibly doubling technology spending in 2015.

So intimated Michael Smith, Vice President of leading industry analyst firm Gartner during a recent interview. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On January 30th, the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) will host its annual Outlook for IT event in Charlotte, NC. Smith will lead the luncheon with a forecast of technology trends and related spending that will drive the economy, both nationally and for North Carolina specifically.

What’s in store?

While we won’t give away the core of his message – you’ll have to register for the event to hear that – the outlook for North Carolina’ tech sector certainly is encouraging.

For example, he points to North Carolina’s attractiveness for light manufacturing. Why? Because of North Carolina’s outstanding logistics capabilities. With a Fedex hub in Greensboro, great highways, and a balance of union and non-union operations, this State has created an environment rich in talent and supported by business strategies that make sense to companies looking to locate here.

And how does that impact IT? With the right infrastructure, Operational Technology – the automation of assembly and distribution of products and goods – will not only take further hold, but become a critical and positive trend. And the more key technologies are applied to a company’s operations, the greater the involvement of information technology professionals.

He points to another compelling indicator of North Carolina’s business success that impacts IT growth: our leadership in digital marketing technology.

“The money spent on digital marketing is going to increase dramatically,” Smith said. “The increase in expenditures by business on these technology solutions will double what historically has been spent on IT.”

Across IT, from banking to pharma, the average amount spent on IT operational spending, which includes servers, software, etc., has over the last 10 years hovered at approximately 2.3% of total company revenue.

Surveys conducted within the last year, according to Gartner, show that the average marketing spend, just for digital marketing, has been 2.3% of total company revenue.

As companies continue to transform from traditional to digital marketing, new including social media, analytics, and context-aware computing, will positively impact the effectiveness of targeted communications.

These are just two of the many key points to be covered at Outlook for IT, NCTA’s annual meeting luncheon. But, to hear the other prognoses Smith has for technology’s future in North Carolina, in addition to an employment forecast from TEKsystems and the release of NCTA’s State of Technology Industry Report, you will have to attend the luncheon. Complete information for this event can be found at