Demand for IT skills is on the rise in the energy sector as research confirms the UK as the biggest spender on utilities IT in Western Europe. By Helen Beckett [Published 05/08/2010]
The report by IDC Energy Insight estimated market size and made forecasts for the Western European utilities industry between 2009 and 2014. Among its main forecasts are that IT spending will reach $8.8bn in 2010, rising to $10bn in 2014.
UK utilities companies are expected to have the deepest pockets when it comes to ICT investment, accounting for 19 per cent of the total spend on IT across all Western European countries.
According to Gaia Gallotti, research analyst at IDC Energy Insight, "In the UK, IT service, which makes up the largest share of spending in 2010, is driven by substantial investments in maintenance and support, implementation and operations."
The sunny outlook for the utilities and for ICT jobseekers in that sector is confirmed by management consultants, Accenture. Omar Abbosh, managing director of Resources, UK and Ireland for Accenture commented: "We see growth as UK utilities continue to seek operational efficiencies and this is reflected in a healthy application & infrastructure outsourcing market."
The nature of the liberalised market has also contributed to systems complexity in areas supporting industry processes, such as billing for example. Extra complexity requires greater levels of systems integration in this industry than others. Further, the UK’s low carbon transition will also force major change on utilities.
According to Abbosh, that does not merely mean investment in smart meters and grids, but in the skills and processes to process the vast volumes of data they produce. "Utilities are also investing in the skills and processes required to improve customer-centricity, given that the smart era will result in far greater interaction between utilities and their consumers," he said.
In line with IDC's forecast and Accenture’s comments, energy market regulator Ofgem, released a statement this week proposing new regulations and an estimated investment of £32bn over the next 10 years. This is designed to help meet low-carbon commitments and develop smart grids.
IDC's spending forecast facts
- IT services would make up 63.7% of total IT spending for utilities in 2010
- Software spending would equal 19.6%
- Hardware spending would equal 16.7%