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Cloud computing is rising fast and is quickly becoming a “new normal” point of departure for modern IT infrastructure. While only a handful of companies have resisted its adoption, many of them have embraced it due to the crucial nature cloud computing plays in the modern IT landscape. However, highly regulated sectors including as healthcare, banking, insurance, and public utilities, most of the organizations in this area have been slow to adopt new technology and embrace change mainly in internal IT infrastructure.

Despite its slow adoption in the past, the majority of utilities (more than 70%) now use cloud software. This is up 45% over the past three years, according to an Oracle survey. The leading reason for this change of tact is to improve the customer experience. Despite the interest shown by businesses in embracing this new approach, many still cite security as the primary concern that remains a barrier to the full implementation of cloud infrastructure.

Nonetheless, utilities now realize that cloud computing is essential for their survival in the modern age. This is despite their skepticism a few years ago that saw top companies in this sector delay its implementation. With time, utilities are increasingly noting that cloud computing is a fundamental technology that helps them to meet customer and business expectations that are ever-evolving. The cloud is also essential in mitigating onsite security concerns and can help turn customer and business data into crucial information necessary to modernize and evolve operations to serve employees and customers.

As competition continues increasing, customers are now interested in information regarding their utility usage and billing process. They are also looking for better alternatives in the market that offers the best services at affordable costs. They also expect this to be personalized as best as possible to enable them to enjoy the services of their choice. Cloud technologies give utilities the best in terms of speed and control to meet the requirements of the customer. This should come as no surprise when organizations in the utility sector continually invest in customer experience and engagement. These needs have also pushed increased investment in cloud systems to boost customer information in the past few years.

Many utilities see cloud computing as critical to their future success. This is occasioned by the recent rise in big data initiatives that call for better efforts to manage the ever increasing pool of data. Such growth in data is largely due to the internet of things (IoT) that stems from large number of smart devices ranging from smart meters, IoT sensors, and a large number of connected home energy devices. Utilities are finding it hard to cope with massive amounts of data using traditional approaches. Utilities believe that leveraging the flexibility provided by cloud computing will see them through tough customer demands because cloud computing can more easily create room for innovation and problem solving that will enhance grid management.

Utilities are still concerned with security and privacy. These two are the major factors that have emerged as the leading barriers when it comes to moving to cloud computing technology. These concerns result from the increase in cybersecurity threats some of which may not be directly connected to the cloud. Utilities recognize that they need to invest in cutting edge cybersecurity strategies to counter these threats and get the best out of cloud computing investment. They cannot achieve this alone but they need help from vendors and regulators.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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