Organizations are fast discovering the business benefits of edge computing. They’re taking advantage of real-time data processing to accelerate decision-making, secure their physical and virtual assets and enhance control over their operations.

But how much of an advantage does edge computing offer in practice, and how are organizations using this technology?

The 2023 Edge Advantage Report gives answers from the perspective of edge adopters.

Research provider Omdia, in partnership with NTT DATA and Intel, spoke to more than 600 organizations that have invested in edge solutions, spanning five major industry groups across 17 countries. The report reveals how they have invested in edge solutions, maps out four signposted journeys to edge computing, and shows how to partner effectively with an edge-as-a-service provider.

"Organizations face a pressing need to embrace agile, scalable networks to meet the ever-growing demands of modern use cases. By pushing computing to the network edge, closer to the data's origin and consumption, enterprises can unlock actionable insights that pave the way for monetization opportunities and operational savings”, said Caroline Chan, Intel Vice President and General Manager, Network Business Incubator Division.

“With edge connectivity such as private 5G, enterprises can leverage the benefits of increased speed, lower latency, improved network traffic management, enhanced security features, and the agility to scale and capitalize on every data point.”

Edge adopters are experiencing real benefits, right now

The results are consistent across industries and countries:

  • More than 80% of organizations say their edge investment is meeting expectations.
  • 88% name 5G as an important enabler, and those combining private 5G and edge computing report the highest benefits.
  • 94% are working with partners to make edge computing a success, but want a single edge partner that can help them with all their evolving needs.

Easier planned than done, unless you have a partner

Globally, the top reasons organizations invest in edge computing are to automate, add AI to their operations and use real-time data. However, it requires:

  • Tight orchestration of hardware, platforms, systems and devices
  • Consistent operational performance without compromising security
  • Overcoming legacy infrastructure and technical debt

Nearly 90% of organizations expect their dependency on third-party edge services to grow over the next two years. This is because they often lack internal expertise in IoT platforms, edge solution design and management. In fact, edge adopters say that fragmented management of computing, connectivity and IoT devices is a drawback to realizing the full potential of edge. Ideally, 90% of those surveyed would like to consume diverse managed edge services from a single partner.

Download the 2023 Edge Advantage Report.

5 ways to unlock the edge advantage

Journeys to the edge can yield many powerful outcomes. However, this year’s enterprise research indicates that gaining an edge advantage requires passing through five key staging posts:

  1. Talk to your stakeholders to identify needs. Make the people who will be using edge solutions part of the solution design. Their knowledge of processes and areas of friction is critical to identifying, validating and championing use cases.
  2. Build the roadmap. Identify short-, medium- and longer-term objectives that align with business objectives rather than promote a technology.
  3. Put in the prep work. Understanding in-house data types, current data architecture and application performance needs is important in deploying edge solutions effectively.
  4. Weigh up financial options. Consider the benefits and risks of capex-based and opex-driven investments, and whether you have the necessary skills in-house to manage the solution.
  5. Establish success factors. Explore suppliers’ willingness to “speak your language” and deliver against the key metrics that drive your business.

These are only a few insights into how adopters are using edge computing to gain a business advantage. The report also explores different approaches to edge and how organizations are realizing benefits such as better performance, new capabilities and lower risk.

Read more about NTT DATA’s Edge as a Service and how we combine private 5G, IoT and operational technology with edge computing.