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Research and consulting services firm IDC Energy Insights has offered its top 10 predictions for the global utility industry in the coming year.

Released during a Web conference titled "IDC Energy Insights Predictions 2014: Worldwide Utilities," the firm's top 10 predictions are as follows:

1. Utilities will hunt for flexibility and innovation in their operations and business models.

2. At high impact, microgrids will force business-model change.

3. Chief information officers (CIOs) will devote more time and attention to working closely with line of business on cybersecurity, enlarging their scope of action.

4. The role of utility CIOs will evolve, driven by IT and operational technologies convergence.

5. Eroding utility revenues and the increase of capital and operating costs will force utilities to develop analytics strategies.

6. Adaptive utilities will embrace dynamic resiliency to survive the ecosystem changes.

7. Utilities will need to seek new paths for data management to propel smart grid innovation.

8. Utilities' multi-channel customer management will call for platform and architecture investments.

9. Gamification will gain traction in utilities to create consumer engagement, loyalty and trust.

10. Global utilities IT spending will surpass $59.3 billion in 2014.

"Despite regional nuances, the global utilities industry is in the midst of a major paradigm shift. Flexibility and innovation are the 'new normal,' and digital technologies and distributed generation are the cornerstone of the transformation across the entire value chain," says IDC's Roberta Bigliani.

"In 2014, utilities will invest in analytics, mobility, cloud, social media and cybersecurity, while CIOs will adopt alternative sourcing models to enable business agility and reduce IT investments," she adds. "Leadership and governance of OT and IT integration will be crucial to avoid undermining innovation."

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