To date, the utilities industry has used big data, analytics and business intelligence to understand and manage such things as financial metrics, demand forecasts, energy markets, optimization of generation, outages, operational efficiency and customer service. However, many utilities are still in the early stages of understanding the full potential for analytics, what an analytics strategy entails and what big data and analytics can deliver, according to a new study by IDC Energy Insights.

The report, “Business Strategy: IDC Maturing Model Benchmark — Big Data and Analytics in Utilities in North America,” includes the results of the first IDC BDA Maturity Model benchmark based on a study of 760 organizations including 59 utility companies with $500-plus million in revenue.

"Based on our research, we found many utility companies have more gains to make by leveraging technology, staffing, data, process and strategic intent to achieve greater results from big data and analytics," Robert Eastman, research manager at IDC Energy Insights and lead analyst for the Utilities IT Strategies practice, said in a statement.

Among the key findings of the report are that utilities are still in the early stages of deploying big data and analytics, with more than four times as many utilities in the lowest two stages as in the highest two stages of IDC's BDA Maturity Model, and nearly two-thirds of utilities in the middle stage of maturity.

Achieving BDA maturity is a multipronged effort across five core dimensions: intent, data, technology, process and people, the report notes. Success depends on maturity in each dimension and on an alignment in maturity across the five dimensions.

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