Edge Computing Ushers in a New Era of IT Solution Provider Opportunities

edge computing opportunities discussion

Digital transformation is driving unprecedented challenges when it comes to planning, installing, and operating IT systems. The traditional scope of IT management has quickly expanded into a hybrid world where management of cloud and colocation relationships, along with edge computing sites, have added to IT staff workloads. In addition, at a time when organizations are trying to streamline their IT support costs, the demand for technical IT skills is increasing. Issues of resource shortages are particularly acute in regional and local edge computing locations. Yet, this market challenge at the edge is opening up a new opportunity for IT solution providers to support their customers on their digital journey.

The explosive growth of edge computing

Trends like data sovereignty, data latency, and enriched user experience−along with new applications involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IT/OT convergence, are driving exponential growth across edge computing environments. Based on Schneider Electric’s internal projections, the volume of power consumed at the edge will soon surpass the volume of power consumed in large hyperscale data centers.

Although edge sites represent small pockets of computing, the criticality levels of edge applications now rival those of traditional on-premise data centers. For many organizations, edge computing assets serve as crucial sources of marketplace differentiation and intellectual property. In addition, across larger organizations, edge sites can number in the hundreds or even thousands (think of all the brick-and-mortar outlets in the retail industry alone, distributed across regional geographies). So how can these sites be properly equipped, managed, and maintained?

The integrity of an organization’s data processing infrastructure from cloud, colocation centers, on-premise, and through to edge is only as strong as the weakest point. Therefore, integrity at the edge level is absolutely paramount. But without the tools and proper resources to build a viable support model, that edge environment poses challenges for end customers across all industries.

Edge computing “ecosystem of  partners” enables business growth

In response to these challenges, the edge computing vendor community has structured an “ecosystem of partners” business model that addresses edge support resource gaps. In an ecosystem of partners arrangement, end customers may choose to work with either a key partner, who can act as an aggregator of multiple core technologies, or they may work with multiple partners simultaneously.

Based on the individual business requirements, the ecosystem manages and simplifies the IT solution provider and customer interface as much as possible. Typical ecosystem channel partners involved in edge computing transactions include IT hardware providers, critical infrastructure providers (power and cooling systems), software integration firms, and managed services providers (who often provide remote monitoring and support services).

The success of this ecosystem of partners not only depends on enlisting organizations with different edge competencies but also can include partners who are experts within specific regions to accommodate customers with an extended global presence. The enterprise IT teams want to experience a consistent level of support for edge computing assets across all geographies.

Experience in maintaining edge systems uptime assures higher availability

Over the last several years, companies like Schneider Electric have been very active in evolving and growing the ecosystem of partners’ business models. In fact, Schneider Electric partners who typically sell hardware now want to sell managed software and services to increase their annuity income revenue streams.

Breakthroughs in technology and digitization have opened the door to a variety of these new service options. Software tools that automatically aggregate the data coming from remote edge equipment and analyze that data against performance in other sites represent a huge step forward in anticipating the potential failure of equipment. When end users are notified of anomalies, they can maintain or upgrade their systems to avoid unanticipated downtime.

By building IT partner programs that support edge computing initiatives, IT and infrastructure partners can decide which growth paths best suit their business goals. These programs advise and educate partners on which capabilities they should build in-house. In addition, business tools can be leveraged to help partners specify and configure edge infrastructure technology reference designs, for example, making it easy for clients to choose appropriate solutions.

To learn more about how IT solution providers can grow their business by helping their customers with digital transformation, access the new IDC report[1], “Customer Experience (CX) Becomes Strategic Skill for IT Channel Partners Developing Service-Based Propositions.” This report is based on a recent survey of end customers and highlights the increased demand from “install and go” to ongoing “service-based” relationships with customers.

[1] IDC Info Snapshot Sponsored by Schneider Electric, Customer Experience (CX) Becomes Strategic Skill for IT Channel Partners Developing Service-Based Propositions, February 2022.

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