Two months into the first quarter of 2003, there's still no sign of a substantial rebound in IT spending. The latest indication: a survey by market researcher Forrester forecasting spending growth of 1.9% this year, not even enough to keep up with inflation as measured by either the producer or consumer price index.

This year's forecast compares with growth of 2.3% in 2002, a terrible year for technology companies.

The survey of 877 IT "decision-makers" found that just 35% of the companies surveyed will spend more on hardware, software and services in 2003, and only 26% are planning to increase spending on desktop PCs or workstations.

Insofar as there will be spending, the wish list for IT execs looks like this:

60%of the companies surveyed will buy disaster recovery products.

45% will deploy business intelligence software.

26% of the $1 billion-plus companies will spend $500,000 or more on data storage, servers or networking.

In particular, there was good news for

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

, which has been feeling the heat as rival

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

aggressively moves into Siebel's core market -- customer relationship management, or CRM. Of firms that already have enterprise resource management systems in place, 59% would rather buy CRM from a pure-play vendor than from their ERP vendor.

That choice seems contrary to the general movement toward integrated suites, but Forrester Research Director Tom Pohlman notes that many of the buyers are likely to be in the earliest stages of CRM deployments, and thus interested in products such as sales force automation, in which Siebel excels.

Moreover, of those firms buying CRM software who have a preferred vendor, 38% choose Siebel, 17% picked

PeopleSoft

t

(PSFT)

, 17% favor SAP, and 10% chose

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

.

There's no clear winner in the business intelligence sector: Pure-play BI vendor

Cognos

(COGN)

is favored by 10% of those surveyed, compared with 8% each for SAP and Oracle, and 6% each for

Hyperion Solutions

(HYSL)

and

Business Objects

(BOBJ)

.

Hardware spending won't be strong, Forrester predicts. For the big-ticket infrastructure purchases of storage and servers, more than one-third of $1 billion-plus companies will spend less than $100,000. When asked who they'll buy servers from, 54% of the respondents picked

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

, 35% opted for

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, 29% picked

Dell Computer

(DELL) - Get Report

, and 14% chose

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

.

Protecting infrastructure assets and the data they store is the hottest ticket of 2003 -- 60% of the firms said they will buy disaster recovery products and services this year. Asked to pick a storage vendor, 32% of the IT execs picked

EMC

(EMC)

, 30 chose% IBM, 22% picked Hewlett Packard, and 11% opted for Dell.