ITWeb, in partnership with Dell Technologies and Intel, conducted an edge computing survey during December/January to investigate edge computing and the role that 5G and leveraging AI will play in businesses going forward.

A total of 210 valid responses were captured - 58% of respondents are at middle management or IT staff level and 27% are at executive management level.

Here are the key findings:

1. The majority of respondents (97%) believe that edge computing is essential to digital transformation, with nearly three quarters of them (73%) strongly agreeing and a quarter (24%) slightly agreeing.

2. Most respondents (81%) said that when it comes to their IT strategy, they’re considering shifting from a traditional capex procurement model to an As-a-Service model. 19% said they wouldn’t consider the shift.

3. The primary reasons for changing to an As-a-Service model were ranked as follows: reduce costs; reduce the burden on IT resources; accelerate solution time to value; increase budget flexibility; and improve user experiences.

4. Managing the server refresh cycle is critical to operating at peak efficiency. Just over a third (38%) of respondents said their organisation planned to implement a server refresh to optimise its operations in the next 18 months. A quarter (25%) didn’t have any such plans in place.

5. Almost all of the survey’s respondents (96%) said 5G would transform IT operations within the next three years.

6. However, only 30% of respondents said their organisations had invested in 5G technologies.

7. Just over a third (37%) said their organisation had plans to invest in 5G technology in the next 18 months. 12% had no such plans and 51% were undecided.

8. The most important benefits of 5G were ranked as follows:

• Accelerate application and network performance
• Empower workers through use of emerging technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality applications
• Enable a hyper-connected world (IT)
• Achieve freedom from hard wired infrastructure
• Enable resilience to augment hardwired networks

9. Almost all (99%) of the survey respondents agreed that the rise of AI calls for the development of end-to-end AI strategies and new supporting capabilities in the underlying IT infrastructure.

10. Asked where their organisation was on its journey towards leveraging AI-driven data analytics as an enabler for digital transformation, 55% said they were in the early stages; 19% said their journey was in progress; and 17% said they were advanced.

11. 89% of respondents agreed that getting the underlying infrastructure right was a key determinant of success as enterprises look to AI to help drive better business decisions.

12. Top challenges when planning, deploying and managing edge solution were ranked as follows:

• Security, privacy and regulatory
• Difficulty managing IT operations across multiple environments
• Lack of expertise to turn analytic insights into actionable outcomes
• Environmental factors
• Lack of expertise to align business goals with use case-based solutions
• Inability to capture, manage and organise large amounts of data