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Energy and utilities

Energy and utility companies eye cloud to drive innovation, resiliency, ESG strategies

Energy and utility companies are looking to cloud to boost innovation and drive business strategy, yet its potential to do so has yet to be fulfilled. Nearly a third (31%) of the sector’s respondents in our PwC US Cloud Business Survey — when asked what best describes their organization’s view of the cloud — agree it’s a platform for innovation, including developing new products and services or capabilities. About the same number (29%) view it as central to their business strategy and critical to revenue growth. Roughly half (46%) describe their organizations as high on the cloud maturity curve and have already scaled it throughout the business to use for things like advanced service design, deep product expertise and optimized workload differentiation. These findings suggest that while many energy and utility companies have made notable progress with cloud, some have yet to think of cloud as the DNA of their organization’s strategy around cloud-based products and services and initiatives to help increase agility and revenue growth.

The sector’s also encountering barriers. Interestingly — given deepening alarm over cyber attacks against the nation’s critical infrastructure — only 9% agreed that cloud creates security and business risks they need to address. At the same time, 40% of executives cited cybersecurity and privacy issues as a barrier to realizing cloud value. 

Over half (57%) of energy and utility respondents agree that a lack of tech talent is hindering their efforts to realize cloud value.

But opinions differ depending on executive role. Across industries, 58% of CIOs and 60% of COOs say lack of tech talent is a barrier to realizing cloud value, while just 28% of board members and 37% of CFOs agree. This disconnect may be holding some energy and utility companies from yielding more value from cloud. 

Over the next three years, 43% of sector companies expect cloud to drive the innovation of products and services (compared to 32% across all industries). These could include enabling field workers access to cloud-based maintenance and repair data as well as customer-accessible energy consumption data. The sector also expects the cloud will enhance  customer experience (31%) and ensure business continuity (31%). 

Bar chart - business outcomes that will be most driven by your use of cloud technologies

Q: In the next three years, which business outcomes will be most driven by your use of cloud technologies? Base: 35

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Venkatesh Jayaraman

Principal, Cloud & Digital Strategy Leader, PwC US

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