InformationWeek 500: Energy Companies Drill Down Into IT Innovation
The drive to develop cleaner and more efficient sources of energy and the search for ever-more remote and costly oil reserves are driving energy companies to use IT in more creative and sophisticated ways.
At first glance, the results of the InformationWeek 500 survey seem to show the energy and utilities sector to be somewhat of a laggard in investing in innovative IT: Less than half of respondents consider new collaborative software one of the most productive IT moves of the last 12 months or use on-demand Web-only software applications. A scant 6% see desktop productivity software as a top productivity enhancer. And service-oriented architectures and server virtualization software--two of the hottest technologies elsewhere--are widely deployed by just 19% and 36%, respectively.
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The energy business is also a leading user of mobile applications, with nearly half reporting wide deployment of mobile enterprise software. Xcel Energy has given mobile apps--work management, troubleshooting, construction--to 40% of its on-the-go employees, working across its entire service territory. Says VP of business transformation Michael Carlson, "It's just a matter of training and deployment schedules that prevents us from being at 100% of our field workforce."