IDC Energy Insights: As Utility Industry Transforms, Data Privacy Emerges as a Primary Concern

New Survey Report Examines the Role of IT Leadership in the Smart Grid World

FRAMINGHAM, MA – December 13, 2010 – IDC Energy Insights today announced the availability of a new study, Utility CIOs: Living in a Smart Grid World (Document #EI225592) that presents the results from a survey conducted with North American utility executive IT leaders to assess the role of IT leadership in the smart grid world.

Of particular note, according to results, privacy has emerged as the number one concern related to data security and management, with data governance as an emerging concern. As utilities implement new initiatives such as smart metering, data volumes are expected to increase significantly. However, the survey reveals that, while management and integration of this data are a priority, respondents overwhelmingly report data privacy as the key element of IT strategic plans for security.

"Customers have a great deal of concern about how their data is being used and distributed, and our survey indicates that utilities are taking this issue extremely seriously," said Jill Feblowitz, IDC Energy Insights practice director.

Another surprising finding is that one third of the utilities surveyed noted that IT is not involved in developing business cases for new initiatives such as renewable generation, energy efficiency, smarter distribution grids, and smart metering. Even more worrisome is that for 13% of utilities, IT does not become involved until the project is well under way.

"Early involvement of IT mitigates the risk of choosing inappropriate or expensive technology," continued Ms. Feblowitz. "It is far more likely that IT investments will be thoroughly and accurately accounted for when IT is involved in the development of the business case from the start. Failure to do so can hinder the ability for utilities to implement new initiatives without requiring a reassessment of the funding required — and possibly the need for consumer rate increases."

Additional findings from the report include the following:

— Utilities are using smart grid funding to invest in technology not

typically associated with smart grid — business applications,

enterprise telecommunications, enterprise architecture, and business

process modeling tools.

— Most utilities have an IT strategic plan that takes smart grid into

account. The most frequently mentioned focus areas were improved

operational efficiency, grid security, and support of new programs such

as demand response.

This report examines the role of the utility CIO as new technology and potentially new business models transform the industry. It also provides further insight into how utilities are addressing IT strategy and budget governance, business process reform, data management and security, and enterprise architecture.

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Jill Feblowitz, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-794-3214 or sarahbethmurray@gmail.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarahbethmurray@gmail.com

About IDC Energy Insights

IDC Energy Insights provides research-based advisory and consulting services focused on market and technology developments in the energy and utility industries. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, IDC Energy Insights covers both the utility and oil & gas segments, providing independent, timely, and relevant analysis focused on key business and technology issues. IDC Energy Insights serves a diverse and growing global client base, including electric, gas and water utilities, IT suppliers, independent power producers, retail energy providers, oil and gas companies, equipment manufacturers, government agencies, financial institutions, and professional services firms. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-ei.com [http://www.idc-ei.com], email info@idc-ei.com, or call 508-935-4400. Visit the IDC Energy Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/energy [http://idc-insights-community.com/energy].

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