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Big Data Increases Western European Utilities’ Appetite for Cloud Computing, According to IDC Energy Insights Survey of IT Decision Makers

March 2012 by IDC

A recent cloud computing survey carried out by International Data Corporation (IDC) found that Big Data is increasing Western European utilities’ appetite for cloud, with 46.2% of respondents positive that cloud would be able to solve Big Data issues.

The survey results are analyzed in a new report by IDC Energy Insights that highlights the nature of current cloud environments, future plans for cloud deployments, industry-specific drivers and inhibitors for cloud investments, and delivery model and cloud service type preferences, specifically focusing on Western European utilities. The report highlights IDC Energy Insights’ top recommendations and actions to consider for utilities CIOs, key IT decision makers, and IT professionals considering moving into the cloud.

Historically, utilities have often been conservative when it comes to changes in their information systems infrastructure, including change caused by the emergence of new technologies. This holds true for cloud computing as well. But the mood is changing, and utilities large and small are beginning to show interest in cloud computing, especially as it becomes a more viable option for utilities as they tackle industry transformation in the years ahead. While the report shows that budget allocation for cloud computing is still not a priority for Western European utilities, with only 25% allocating 1% to less than 3% of budgets to cloud computing in 2012, it also reveals that short-term expectations for cloud computing budget shares are positive.

Key highlights of the survey include:

Western European utilities clearly prefer private or hybrid cloud deployment options

Utilities believe that public cloud computing encourages more standards and quicker implementation

Western European utilities identified operational performance issues as the number 1 problem that could be resolved by using cloud computing Security and regulatory compliance are the main barriers to public cloud adoption for utilities, with around 24% believing that regulation will negatively impact cloud adoption

Commoditized applications are most considered for going into the cloud, but utilities recognize the real potential will be for specialty applications

Smart grids are not yet expected to drive cloud uptake, with 42.9% of Western European utilities expecting no change in the level of cloud adoption in the next two to five years

"Cloud computing, together with mobile, Big Data, and analytics, is transforming the utilities IT landscape," said Roberta Bigliani, head of EMEA, IDC Energy Insights. "New offerings are introduced to the market on a regular basis, often defining new functional segments and new deployment options. Budget allocation for cloud is not yet a priority for utilities, so it is important to see through the hype and understand how cloud can best be applied to the industry and how to remove barriers to deployment."

The report, Business Strategy: Utilities and Cloud Computing: A View From Western Europe (IDC Energy Insights #EIOS02U, March 2012), is available to purchase on

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