Cybersecurity Highest IT Solution Area of Investment for Utilities

March 2016, Vol. 243, No. 3

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal

Today, even more than in the past, utilities are lamenting the rigidity and costs of running and maintaining their legacy IT solutions, putting CIOs in the spotlight. Utility CIOs are facing significant challenges in determining where to make the most effective budget allocations.

At the same time, CIOs are expected to undertake new initiatives to ensure the most productive, effective, and efficient alignment between business process and IT. To understand which IT solutions will attract the most investments from utilities, IDC Energy Insights has released a new report, Business Strategy: Utilities IT Investment Priorities for Solutions: Results from the Western European Utilities 2015 Survey , based on results of the IDC Energy Insights Survey on Western European utilities.

The study sought to understand Western European utilities’ plans to invest in enterprise and line-of-business (LOB) solutions, including: asset management; billing; customer care; cybersecurity; energy trading and risk management (ETRM); engineering and design; environment, health, and safety (EH&S); enterprise resource planning (ERP); grid maintenance; meter data management; network automation and control; plant maintenance; plant operations; project management; storage; supply chain management (SCM); and workforce mobility.

IDC Energy Insights also released a complementary report in the series, What About Utilities IT Budgets? Results from Western European Survey 2015, to understand the benchmark of ICT budgets versus revenues, IT budget spending and IT budget distribution, leading business initiatives to support IT decisions, and top information security priorities among utility enterprises across Western Europe.

Key findings from the report include:

  • IDC Energy Insights sizes utilities’ software spending in Western Europe at about $3.2 billion in 2015. Major areas of software spending for these utilities were customer care and billing (CC&B) and enterprise resource management (ERM).
  • In the next 12 months, Western European utilities will invest the most in cybersecurity and, in particular, on more strategic areas such as data loss and leakage prevention, mobile security, and cloud security.
  • Meter data management (MDM), engineering and design, and plant maintenance are the line-of-business IT solutions with high investment potential in the next 12 months for utilities’ asset operations.
  • Regarding utilities’ customer operations, workforce mobility has the highest investment potential in the next 12 months. Also, customer care solutions will be a high investment priority, expected to attract the most investments in new solutions, while billing solutions will attract the most investments in enhancements/upgrades.
  • Over the next year Western European water utilities will invest the most in MDM and asset management solutions. The majority of investments will be in new solutions.

According to Gaia Gallotti, IDC Energy Insights Research Manager, “With smart meter deployments picking up again in countries such as France and the UK, Western European utilities will focus their IT solution investment potential on adopting new MDM solutions and, to a lesser extent, on enhancing/upgrading their existing MDM solutions in the next 12 months.”

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