Edge investments continue to grow in 2023

Enterprises working with edge infrastructure and services are already devoting significant proportions of their IT infrastructure and services spending to edge, and most of those are expecting edge budgets to increase from 2022 to 2023. This growing investment is focused on security, automation and orchestration software, and is driven by technology refresh, security improvements and a need for increased capacity. These trends are reflected in the responses to 451 Research’s Edge Infrastructure & Services, Budgets & Outlook 2023 survey.

Fielded Oct. 14–Nov. 28, 2022, with a panel of approximately 340 primarily North American IT decision-makers currently deploying or using edge infrastructure and services, this survey examines planned spending changes for edge technology and projects in 2023, along with the drivers of those changes, and the intended outcomes of spending for the year.

The Take

Survey results highlight growing investment and the rollout of new edge services within organizations. Technology refresh is the most frequently cited reason for increased spending on edge, which indicates doubling down on investment in edge strategy. Respondents identify edge infrastructure and service investment as one of the most critical areas for business in 2023, underlining the fact that the edge market has moved from nascency to wider business adoption. This shift is backed up by hardware, software and service providers launching further initiatives to address the wider demand. Greater investment in edge security software and services suggests a shoring up of the adoption, as real revenue is being safeguarded more tightly. We expect the edge marketplace to grow year on year as more use cases are deployed. However, adoption and growth differ significantly by industry and geography. Managed edge services are also expected to grow, with 42% of respondents stating they expect budgets to grow in comparison with 2022.

Summary of findings

Among organizations that use them, edge infrastructure and services make up a significant proportion of total spending on IT infrastructure and services. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of respondents using or planning to use edge indicate that more than 30% of their organization’s 2023 IT infrastructure and services spending will be in support of edge, and one-third (33%) say more than half will be, pointing to both the prevalence of edge requirements and the proportion of IT infrastructure that can be reasonably viewed as edge.

Businesses spending on edge infrastructure and services expect spending to increase from 2022 to 2023, driven by refreshing technology, improving security and adding capacity. Among businesses using or planning edge deployments, 72% expect edge spending to increase from 2022 to 2023, with the largest proportion (37% of the total) expecting an edge budget increase between 1% and 25%, and just 6% expecting a decrease. The most commonly cited drivers for increases are technology refresh (cited by 44%), the need for security tools (42%), and the need to add capacity for new use cases (36%) and existing use cases (33%). Businesses express certainty about the value of edge spending: 88% of respondents agree that their organizations are confident in the ROI created from spending on edge infrastructure and services.

Among edge technologies, security tools, systems automation tools and workload orchestration are more frequently expected to see increased spending in 2023 than core edge infrastructure and services. Specific technologies most frequently expected to see increased investment in 2023 include edge security software and services (47% of respondents), edge system automation tools (47%), and workload orchestration and management (45%), with edge infrastructure (44%), edge services (44%) and managed services (42%) appearing further down the list. By a significant margin, security software and services for edge is the technology category most widely expected to see the biggest increase in spending (chosen by 36%, compared with 20% for its closest competitor, orchestration and management). There is widespread confidence that edge spending in general will improve edge security; 87% of respondents agree that investments in edge infrastructure and services will impact their organizations’ ability to enhance cybersecurity posture.

New spending on edge is expected to drive new operational efficiencies, along with improvements to employee and customer experience, and compliance. Businesses with existing or planned edge deployments most frequently indicate that they expect new edge spending will drive operational efficiency (43%), improve the experience of the workforce (41%) and customers (40%), and improve the business’s position with regard to compliance (38%). Although it is not the most-cited target outcome, 80% of respondents agree that investments in edge will impact their organizations’ ability to meet regulatory requirements.

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