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Western European Utilities Scouting Social Media Tools for Business Purposes, According to IDC Energy Insights 2011 Utilities Survey

(PresseBox) (Milan, ) IDC Energy Insights' latest annual survey of Western European utilities reveals that more than 50% of utilities are currently investing in server/storage virtualization and IP telephony technologies, making them the most "popular" technologies for utilities. The survey also highlights a shift in the acceptance of "new" technologies by Western European utilities, as social media tools for business purposes and cloud computing are identified as the main areas for investment in the next 12-24 months.

The IDC Energy Insights survey analyzes Western European utilities' deployment trends for the most popular technologies on the market, including cloud, social media, and virtualization, though the main focus of the survey was cloud computing, IP telephony services, mobility, and social media tools for business purposes. Overall, the 2011 survey demonstrates Western European utilities' greater familiarity with "new" technologies compared with 2010 survey results.

The survey highlights the following key trends in adoption of "new" technologies by Western European utilities:

Cloud computing. Cloud computing is emerging as a viable option for utilities CIOs and their interest in investing in cloud computing is growing despite concerns over security and data privacy. It is encouraging to see that more than 91% of utility survey respondents are familiar with cloud computing. In terms of the type of cloud computing deployment options preferred by Western European utilities, hybrid cloud leads, followed by private cloud, with public the least favored. Hybrid and private cloud options seem to provide utilities with an acceptable balance between privacy, security, and costs.

IP telephony services. According to the survey, IP-PBX managed services onsite is currently the most widely used IT telephony service, and this is expected to remain so over the next two years.

Mobility. Becoming mobile will continue to receive significant attention in the future. The use of BlackBerry by RIM and ruggedized handheld devices is advancing in the Western European utilities market, with over 50% penetration. The increase in mobile devices is confirmed by the widespread use of the iPhone by Western European utilities professionals. In the next 12-24 months, Western European utilities will continue to invest in native mobile applications for internal usage and mobile application platforms, but additional investment will be in extending on-premises corporate applications for mobile devices.

Social media tools for business purposes. Western European utilities identified two major social media tools that are currently used or expected to be used: "social networking" and "microblogging," at 45.3% and 35.6% respectively. However, Western European utilities identified measuring the impact on core business objectives as the main challenge in the uptake of social media tools by their organization.

"Even though until now the use of social media for business purposes hasn't been a priority for Western European utilities, it is the new technology area with the strongest 12-24 month future investment plans," said Gaia Gallotti, senior research analyst, IDC Energy Insights. "However, Western European utilities will still struggle to overcome the main challenge in the uptake of social media tools by their organization - measuring its impact on core business objectives."

A new report, CIOs Priorities: New Technologies - Western European Utilities Survey 2011 (IDC Energy Insights #EIOS58T, December 2011), summarizes the results of the IDC Energy Insights survey on deployment trends of the most popular technologies in the market, including cloud, social media, and virtualization. This is the fourth and final report in a series dedicated to the results of the annual IDC Energy Insights survey, which covers France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. utilities industry. The first report described the survey methodology; the second analyzed ICT budget spending distribution and patterns in evolution, channel selection, and satisfaction with primary IT suppliers; and the third analyzed current adoption, priorities, and plans to invest in IT solutions (both enterprise management and line-of-business solutions).

About IDC Central Europe GmbH

IDC Energy Insights assists energy businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers that serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the utility and oil and gas industries. 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 or email info@idc-ei.com.

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