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By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 08-16-2012

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Worldwide spending on IT outsourcing services is set to hit $251.7 billion this year, jumping 2.1 percent from the $246.6 billion companies spent in 2011.

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Not surprisingly to companies increasingly worrying about the cloud, Gartner found spending on cloud compute services is growing the fastest, and will grow 48.7 percent to $5 billion this year.

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Last year, cloud computing services outsourcing spending hit $3.4 billion, according to data from research firm Gartner.

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For years, CIOs have been outsourcing data center functions, and it's still a huge part of the industry, capturing a 34.5 percent share. However, its growth is down 1 percent compared to last year, Gartner says.

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Although data center outsourcing is still possible, Gartner believes data center processing systems will be replaced "by new delivery models" over the next few years.

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According to Gartner, application outsourcing spending will hit $40.7 billion this year, up 2 percent compared to the $39.9 billion spent in 2011.

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In North America, Gartner believes that companies will try to outsource their work to annuity-managed service relationships for IT cost management.

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That, Gartner says, will ensure that IT outsourcing will grow in North America at least through 2016.

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In the Asia-Pacific region, a key area of the world for outsourcing, Gartner only expects spending to rise 1 percent in 2012. However, spending growth will accelerate to 2.5 percent in 2013.