Enterprises Drive Edge Adoption to Gain Competitive Advantage, Solving Critical Business Challenges

NTT’s Edge Advantage report surveyed 600 enterprises leveraging edge to enable data-driven decision making; uncovered concerns around infrastructure capabilities.

  • 88% of respondents recognize the significance of 5G as a facilitator, with those integrating private 5G and edge technologies reporting the most significant advantages.
  • A vast majority (93%) acknowledge edge technology as a competitive advantage.
  • The primary drivers for investing in edge technology are to enable automation and AI, gain real-time access to data, enhance operational efficiency, and accommodate the increasing number of IoT devices.
  • Industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and logistics, energy and utilities, and financial services are actively leveraging edge technology.

NTT Ltd., a renowned global company providing IT infrastructure and services, has released the Edge Advantage Report today. The report highlights that while a majority of enterprises investing in edge technology are effectively addressing real-world business challenges, there is concern among nearly 40% of those planning edge deployments regarding the capability of their current infrastructure to support the potential of edge. The findings also reveal that over 80% of organizations anticipate an increase in their reliance on third-party edge services in the next two years.

Enterprises worldwide are recognizing the advantages of edge technology, leveraging digital innovations to accelerate data-driven decision making, enhance security for physical and virtual assets, and establish resilient operations. Although more than 80% of technology decision makers report that their expectations for edge investments have been met or exceeded, there is apprehension about the rapid pace of technological evolution and its potential long-term costs.

Infrastructure capabilities:

  • Current adopters perceive the fragmented management of compute, connectivity, and IoT devices as a hindrance to realizing the full potential of edge technology.
  • Organizations combining private 5G and edge technologies experience the greatest benefits compared to those employing legacy segregated approaches or none at all.

The report also highlights that while most organizations believe their network infrastructure can handle their current edge requirements, almost 40% of enterprises planning edge deployments acknowledge the need to upgrade their network to support the expected surge in connected devices and applications. In fact, nearly two-thirds of enterprises that have already deployed edge have undertaken a wide area network refresh.

In response to these challenges, many organizations are planning to seek assistance from partners on their edge journey. In fact, 88% of organizations believe their dependency on third-party edge services will grow in the next 24 months, with 90% expressing a preference to obtain edge services from a single partner that offers centralized accountability. Furthermore, 94% consider “having more managed service options” as a crucial factor in simplifying edge consumption.

Shahid Ahmed, EVP New Ventures & Innovation at NTT Ltd., stated, “The growing need for faster processing and a distributed digital architecture is creating increased pressure on networks and infrastructure capabilities, driving both accelerated adoption of private 5G and edge. Achieving the edge advantage will require end-to-end solutions with holistic management and uncompromising accountability. Only through utilizing these solutions can enterprises gain instant access to data, where it is generated or collected, with near zero latency, and harness it to drive powerful business outcomes.”

Industry perspective:

The motivations behind edge adoption vary across industries. In manufacturing firms, operational efficiency ranks as the top driver for edge investments, followed by data security. These firms aim to become just-in-time organizations, leveraging data for a competitive advantage. The top reasons for deploying edge solutions include increasing employee safety, experience, and efficiency (79%); streamlining/digitizing business processes (76%); improving customer experience/anticipating customer needs (74%); and increasing the use of data insights for decision-making (72%).

Regarding supply chain efficiency and resilience, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing organizations report 100% satisfaction with their edge expectations. Similarly, improving employee safety, experience, and efficiency in the energy sector has also met or exceeded expectations.

Edge-optimized applications capitalize on low latency, predictability, and high bandwidth to meet industry-specific needs in real-time data collection. It comes as no surprise that over 90% of respondents consider edge technology a competitive advantage within their industry.

Complex environments:

According to organizations that have already deployed edge technology, the main reasons for investment include automating and integrating AI into business processes and gaining real-time access to data. However, achieving these objectives poses formidable challenges, which require:

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

Organizations require assistance in navigating the intricate process of adopting edge and next-generation technologies within an environment that traditionally resists change. It is crucial to carefully manage legacy protocols and systems to ensure that ongoing migrations do not disrupt production.

The challenges encountered by organizations serve as major reasons why 94% of enterprises seek partnerships for edge expertise, with 90% preferring a single edge partner that can provide comprehensive solutions. However, those who successfully harness the benefits of edge technology can expect business growth, improved agility, enhanced sustainable practices, and enhanced quality control.

Camille Mendler, chief analyst at Omdia, emphasized the need for organizations striving to become real-time enterprises to seek assistance beyond the design and implementation of edge solutions. Managed services offer a practical and adaptable approach to staying ahead of complexity.

Journey to the edge:

NTT announced the launch of its Edge as a Service offering in collaboration at the end of last year. This initiative aims to secure, optimize, and simplify organizations’ digital transformation journeys. Leveraging NTT’s network infrastructure capabilities and global presence, the managed edge compute platform enables enterprises to quickly deploy applications closer to the edge while ensuring secure management and monitoring.

The report concludes with NTT providing a guide that suggests starting points and pathways for organizations to consider before embarking on their edge journey. To access the full ‘2023 Edge Advantage Report,’ please click here.