A digital touchpoint can be any kind of interaction with a digital device, product or service. For example, when an individual has a Q&A session with a chatbot, books a flight online or wears a fitness tracker.
“Creating business moments at digital touchpoints is the new scalable way of engaging with customers,” said Rene Buest, senior research director at Gartner. “Infrastructure service providers that fail to embrace this development will lack a presence at digital touchpoints. Consequently, they will struggle to interact closely with customers.”
Gartner forecasts that, by 2021, 65 percent of global infrastructure service providers will generate 55 percent of their revenue through edge-related services that help customers create business moments at digital touchpoints.
Organizations are engaging with customers at digital touchpoints
There has been an explosion of connected things and immersive human-machine interfaces. This is pushing more computing resources and services closer to the edge in support of digital touchpoints. At the same time, an increasing number of organizations is focusing on the edge to engage more closely with customers at digital touchpoints.
According to a Gartner survey, 27 percent of organizations stated that edge computing is part of their infrastructure strategy. By the end of 2019, 70 percent of survey respondents expect edge computing to become relevant to their infrastructure plan.
Going beyond the edge
While the cloud provides the foundation for agile infrastructures for digital business, digital initiative demands at digital touchpoints are different. This is due to real-time decision-making and interaction requirements, growth in produced data, requirements for autonomy, and demand for security and privacy. As a result, computer storage and services need to be located physically closer to the people. This forces services to be delivered from the cloud to the edge.
By 2022, Gartner estimates that half of large organizations will be integrating edge computing principles into their projects. This is partly because, by 2022, $2.5 million will be spent every minute in the Internet of Things (IoT), and 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour.
“This enormous growth will need backing from reliable end-to-end infrastructure environments that support proximity, and that ensure low latency, high bandwidth, autonomy and privacy,” said Buest. “The cloud is no longer enough. Infrastructure service providers must exploit this growth by extending services beyond the edge in support of digital touchpoints.”
By focusing on digital touchpoint delivery, infrastructure service providers can boost their service delivery value chain with infrastructure components that are quick and close to where end users interact with businesses.
- Infrastructure management. This enables an all-inclusive infrastructure platform approach from the core to the cloud to the edge. The goal is to support clients’ digital touchpoints. It also includes the requirement of controlling, categorizing and deploying the necessary infrastructure, services and connectivity in a software-defined style.
- Infrastructure integration. This ensures tight, smooth, API-driven integration of infrastructure services with on-premise infrastructure, edge devices, cloud services, middleware platforms, data, processes, gateways and mobile devices.
- Infrastructure security. This delivers the necessary services and tools to ensure holistic security management of infrastructure, devices, and users.
- Data management and governance. This provides full life cycle management of generated and collected data at the edge and digital touchpoints. Here, a sustained chain from core to cloud to edge and digital touchpoint must be implemented. This ensures that data is managed and compliant at each stage.