A hand touching a hologram that says edge computing.
Image: ra2 studio/Adobe Stock

An average of 35% of computing resources in the United States now reside at the edge, according to a December 2022 report from IDG/Foundry commissioned by solutions integrator Insight Enterprises. More respondents listed the need to process data from edge devices as a top objective in 2022 than in 2021, they found. In total, they saw an increase from 27% to 36%. This is the largest year-over-year increase in IT priorities among all of the changes the survey measured.

The survey polled 400 senior IT decision makers to find out what challenges they face when guiding digital transformation in their organizations. Respondents also weighed in on what IT investments they think are most likely to bring in more money and foster technological innovation.

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Data stored on the edge is expected to increase

The survey organizers arrived at the 35% average by polling organizations on what percent of their data estate was driven by edge workloads. Breaking it down further, 46% of organizations keep 25%–50% of their data estate in edge workloads. A further 29% said half or more of their data estate is driven by edge workloads.

A majority (64%) of respondents expect the amount of data stored on the edge to increase in the next 12 months. Another 27% expect to store the same amount of data on the edge this year as last year, and 5% expect the amount to decrease. The remaining 4% responded with “don’t know.”

SEE: Unlock better quality of service at the edge (TechRepublic)  

What should you prioritize in digital transformation?

Edge computing is an important part of digital transformation and can touch many of the priorities survey respondents listed. The two most important aspects of digital transformation respondents plan to focus on in 2023 are optimizing data and analytics capabilities (51%) and increasing cloud adoption (49%).

These were also the first and second priorities in 2022, but integrating data from edge devices into general data analysis has become more important over the last year. 27% of respondents marked it as a top objective for 2022 compared to 36% for 2023.

Overall, tech leaders plan to focus on optimizing IT infrastructure through better monitoring and management. Half of respondents marked this as one of the technology initiatives they plan to focus on in the next twelve months.

Challenges and blockers to digital transformation

IT leaders want to modernize and keep a sharper eye on their data; meanwhile, the amount of data is growing fast — faster than IT can manage, 72% of respondents said. Other top challenges to digital transformation include:

  • Gaps in technology skills and knowledge (45%).
  • Budget constraints (42%).
  • Technical debt resulting from siloed, legacy systems and processes (39%).
  • Cultural misalignment/disconnects between IT operations and development teams (39%).
  • Inadequate data analysis capabilities for decision-making (38%).

SEE: Different parts of the edge are useful for different deployments. (TechRepublic)

Shifting to the cloud and back

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things are also high priorities, with 51% of respondents choosing them as being among their top IT objectives for 2023. Many respondents (62%) stated they want to accelerate switching from on-premises to cloud-based solutions in response to the overall market environment. A small number (20%) plan to pull back from public workloads to on-premises instead. On average, 54% of data at respondents’ organizations resided in a public or hybrid cloud when the survey was conducted at the end of 2022.