Energy Insights compares European Utilities’ IT Budget allocation: what’s in East and West shopping list?

MILAN, Italy and FRAMINGHAM, MA – April 10, 2008 – Energy Insights recently released a new report, which analyzes the trends occurring at the level of IT spending in Western Europe and compare them with the Eastern European trends. This report leverages two major annual surveys concluded at the end of 2007, the Central Europe Utilities Survey, 2007, which was carried out in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia and the Western Europe Vertical Market Survey, 2007.

"Following the growing expansion of the European Union to include several Eastern European countries and the effects this change will have on the dynamics of the pan-European utilities marketplace, it's crucial to understand how European Utilities are leveraging IT to front strategy needs and business challenges", said Roberta Bigliani, EMEA research Director, Energy Insights.

The study highlights that, when looking at IT spending on internal staff and external spending, including hardware, software, and IT services, two distinct trends are evident between Western and Eastern Europe. In effect, according to the survey results, Western European utilities indicated that their spending is evenly split between the two, which can be justified by the generally larger capacity of their IT departments discussed previously. As would be expected by the high percentage of very small IT departments among Eastern utilities, the share of external IT spending is higher, with around three-fifths of total respondents indicating the use of external advisors.

Less differences are evident when it comes to business priorities:

Utilities across Europe highlight the need to improve the security of their information systems as their number 1 priority.

Another urgent need in both regions is lowering, or at least better controlling, IT costs. However, survey results revealed this to be of greater importance to Eastern than to Western European utilities, which have already experienced significant pressure on IT optimization and so are more likely to be in a more advanced stage of IT cost management and control.

There is a general need for utilities, in countries pertaining to or wishing to become a part of the EU, to become faster at achieving regulatory compliance. This specific need is equally important for Western and Eastern European utilities as both regions ranked the need to become compliant in third place. Finally, utilities from east to west are requiring that their applications better fit their business processes.

More differences are evident when comparing short term plans: European utilities from east to west will focus their short-term investments on enhancing their customer care and service capabilities. Respondents identified customer-oriented applications as the number 1 solution to invest in, as well as leading business initiatives for utilities in both Western and Eastern Europe. This is likely driven by customers' growing need for higher-quality service and self-service capabilities, which creates competition and a competitive advantage point for the myriad of pan-European utilities.

This Insight document brings together and draws conclusions from two major annual surveys concluded at the end of 2007:

Central Europe Utilities Survey, 2007, which was carried out in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Western Europe Vertical Market Survey, 2007, which included France, Germany, the U.K., Italy, and Spain.

Detailed results of the two surveys are separately analyzed in dedicated Energy Insights reports: to know more on any of the above, please contact or +39.02.28457.367.

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About Energy Insights

Energy Insights, an IDC company, is a leading global provider of research-based advisory and consulting services to the energy and utilities industry. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry-specific business and technology experience, Energy Insights provides full coverage of the energy industry value chain – from upstream to retail activities. Energy Insights provides a portfolio of offerings that are relevant to both IT and business needs. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.

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