Many tech executives must become knowledgeable about edge computing technologies, which put compute, storage, and intelligence close to where it’s needed, allowing firms to design and deploy software flexibly between central, distributed, and local sites. Edge computing decisions affect infrastructure, operations, security, partnerships, and innovation in your company. Proactively establish your firm’s edge computing strategy by:
- Exploring options to deploy edge computing in various business scenarios. Edge computing has extended beyond being a telco and internet-of-things (IoT) footnote to becoming one of the most important emerging technologies in enterprises. Edge computing technologies help firms in a range of verticals anticipate customer needs, act on their behalf, and operate their businesses efficiently, often in localized, IoT contexts. Assess four edge computing environments where edge technologies can help your firm solve a variety of challenges.
- Evaluating opportunities to create new edge experiences. Initial edge use cases often focus on analyzing data in edge environments. For example, IoT sensors in intelligent building systems can monitor environmental factors (e.g., temperature, humidity) and analyze captured data to automatically adjust HVAC systems to maintain building comfort. Retailers can use edge sensors, cameras, and AI-powered video analytics to monitor stock and shelf capacity in real time; transform point-of-sale systems to engage customers; reduce inventory loss; or provide personalized wayfinding to reduce customer wait times.
- Navigating the fragmented vendor landscape. The edge computing landscape comprises a diverse set of technologies that, when managed together, address key business scenarios and use cases. Eight categories of vendors participate in the diverse edge computing landscape. The value of each type of vendor varies according to edge services, capabilities, and business scenarios. No single vendor will provide all technologies for any edge business scenario. Vendor-to-vendor and vendor-to-enterprise partnerships are critical to creating a complete edge solution.
- Assessing expanded risks and ensuring that security is not an afterthought. Edge computing requires networking infrastructure in a tightly woven fabric of software, hardware, and cloud functions that interweaves users, data, and resources securely. Every new network connection, smart device, IoT sensor, edge server, or micro data center is an attack surface for hackers. Implement Zero Trust edge architecture to bring networking and security together, starting on-premises with SD-WAN, firewalls, and Zero Trust network access and ending with routing, secure web gateways, and cloud security gateways in the cloud.
- Ensuring collaboration and ownership among IT and OT stakeholders. Often, the owners of edge use cases operate on an island with separate initiatives from the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) teams. Tech executives must break down these IT and OT silos to establish mutual understanding of critical processes and culture. Some firms bring IT and OT teams into a common reporting line, while others cross-train OT experts in IT disciplines such as DevOps and DataOps. Tech executives must also understand who owns the edge strategy and the individual owners of each aspect of edge.
To successfully navigate this process, here are a few steps that you can take:
- If you are a Forrester client and want to learn more about this topic, please schedule an inquiry or guidance session with me.
- Read our executive’s guide to edge computing to understand the top conversations that tech executives have about this technology.
- Not a Forrester client? Please contact your Forrester account team.