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27 Apr 2016

IDC Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit 2016 Showcases the Industry’s Progress from Digital Exploration to Digital Transformation

Technology and innovation are key factors for a successful digital shift in the utilities industry

MILAN, April 27, 2016 – On March 14 and 15, 2016, IDC Energy Insights hosted the fourth edition of its IDC Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit. The invitation-only event took place on Lake Como, Italy. The venue provided the ideal backdrop to the summit's theme: "Driving Utilities' Digital Journey to the Next Level."

  • ClicktoTweet - 2016 IDC Pan-Euro #Utilities Exec Summit showed the industry move from digital exploration to #DigitalTransformation

At the event — a truly Pan-European one — around 45 utility executives from 16 European countries, alongside IDC analysts and event partners — Ericsson, C3 IoT, NTT DATA, OMNETRIC Group, Capgemini, Infosys, Opower, and Oracle Utilities — discussed some of the hottest topics on the industry's agenda through presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and informal dialogue.

The summit fosters a collaborative setting for business and IT executives. As influence over technology spending in European utilities is increasingly moving from the IT department to the line of business (LOB), so the IDC Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit has evolved to draw a greater LOB audience. This year, LOB attendance was 61% (versus 55% in the first edition), and top-level functions were widely represented: CEO/managing director (19%), C-level (11%), and VP/head/director (52%).

Digital transformation takes center stage, particularly omni-experience as well as operating model and information transformation. On one hand, utilities are pressured to respond to customer expectations that are formed in more digitally mature industries. On the other hand, they continue to invest in connected systems to support new revenue streams and operational excellence. The ability to leverage information for competitive advantage — or information transformation — is the cornerstone supporting both trends.

Major takeaways from the Summit include:

  • Utilities embrace change. Almost two-thirds of the summit attendees claim their companies handle change as innovators, and no one thought they resist it — a significant shift compared with previous editions. At the same time, utilities feel they are gradual innovators rather than disruptors, and they seek effective innovation models.
  • Attendees expect that by 2020, their companies will generate around 40% of their revenues outside the traditional business.
  • Utilities that are successfully transforming their businesses are also developing a new vision and new core values to support change. A growing number of European utilities are creating "venture" business units to incubate technology and innovation as well as accelerate the pace of change.
  • Transformation is not possible without the right people and culture. As leading utilities experiment with ways to attract and nurture digital talent and foster a digital mindset, the industry realizes that the "soft" side of the transition is the most critical to address.

More insights are revealed in a new IDC Energy Insights Perspective: Driving Utilities' Digital Journey to the Next Level: Highlights from the 2016 IDC Pan–European Utilities Executive Summit (Doc #EMEA41171716).

"Instead of debating 'old news' of an evolving utility market scenario and challenges, the summit highlighted concrete actions that utilities are taking as they shift from selling commodities to provide energy services in a digital world," said Roberta Bigliani, Head – Europe, Middle East and Africa, IDC Energy Insights. "As they address transformation head-on, European utilities are decarbonizing, revising their business models, and perfecting operational excellence. More importantly, they are incubating innovation and planting seeds to grow digital culture across their organizations."

The discussion is set to continue at next year’s IDC Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit in Penha Longa, Portugal, on March 20 and 21, 2017.

For more information about the themes discussed at the IDC Pan-European Utilities Summit 2016, to request a copy of the related study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with IDC Energy Insights' analyst team, please contact Helena Chappell at or Roberta Bigliani at

About IDC Energy Insights

IDC Energy Insights assists energy businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who 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, email, or call 508-935-4400. Visit the IDC Energy Insights Community at

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Emily Tynan
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