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Digital Transformation: Move to the Edge in Five Steps

Introduction

Digital transformation has been one of the most debated terms for a while. And this debate is not in vain. Currently, any business in any industry must rely in large part on its technological infrastructure in order to stay at the forefront and compete in the market. However, not everyone knows what tools or models to choose. This often leads to maintaining legacy structures, indefinitely delaying the digital renewal process or making an investment in tools that do not meet the needs. They all mean falling behind in this very exhaustive race.

In this blog post, we’ll help you to create your digital transformation plan and we’ll tell you the advantages of using an edge computing platform, such as Azion’s, and of choosing a provider that is a true partner in this process.

How to Move to the Edge in Five Steps

Nowadays, it’s not enough to have a digital presence; you must provide your users with optimal and flawless experiences in which speed, availability and innovation stand out as key factors for retention and prevent them from leaving to your competitors. Planning, along with good research, will be key to defining your new infrastructure and the providers you will work with in this process of embracing digital transformation.

If you are currently in a stage of technological transformation, your next plan is to update your infrastructure. Cloud computing or edge computing? Hybrid or local deployments? With so many options, it can be hard to know which is better for your business.

In this matter, an edge computing platform is a cloud-computing alternative capable of offering functionalities and advantages to accelerate the digital transformation of your business. This computational model uses a decentralized, automated and distributed architecture, which is located at the edge of the network. By placing more resources closer to users, latency is decreased, response time is improved, scalability is facilitated, and reliability is increased. Also, a serverless edge platform like Azion’s, which scales automatically, eliminates the need to provision resources, reduces upfront costs and resource waste while allowing your team to spend more time innovating and less time on rote management tasks.

But it’s necessary to go step by step…

Create a Plan for the Implementation

The first thing you must define is your objective with this digital transformation process and how it will be reflected in the experience you offer to your customers; better understanding your users, their interests, behaviors and needs is important for this stage. You may have heard of data analytics, digital intelligence, and other practices that help with this task. On the other hand, you should also consider how this change will make your operations more agile and facilitate the work of your team.

A good strategy to solve these questions is thinking of possible problems or use cases to define a solution to each one through a specific technological innovation or tool. This way, you will be able to know what changes you must make so that your infrastructure can meet internal and external demands. Remember that it’s important to define the budget and deadlines, as well as the stages and responsible teams, to complete this project.

Define a Strategy for the Implementation

If you already know how technology can help you achieve your goals, it’s time to start designing a structure that includes all these elements. In this step, it’s important to remember that not only computational models and technological tools have evolved. The way in which modern applications—the medium through which the content is delivered to users—are built has transitioned from being monolithic to using microservices. Microservices give applications greater flexibility and are made up of independent elements that execute a single task, which facilitates scalability, update, configuration and interaction through APIs.

At this stage you can reflect on your reality: will you need to renew the entire structure? Is it enough to update certain elements? How can you integrate next-generation solutions into your platform? In this case, the idea is to prioritize your needs and define solutions. Changes don’t have to be radical; some can be progressive, which will help you organize your operations and also your budget.

Benchmarking: Analyze the Market to Choose Your Provider

Gartner, in its report “Choose the Right Digital Commerce Platform Architecture”[1], states that “digital commerce platform architecture decisions made without alignment to business outcomes can create challenges, including:

  • Implementation abandonment, or a change of development partners during implementation.
  • Significant increased costs as emerging requirements introduce scope creep.
  • Business users are not getting the appropriate tools to manage the channel, creating operational headaches.”

All these challenges can significantly delay and complicate your project, as well as increase costs and affect your online presence and user experience. To avoid a scenario with so many obstacles, choosing the right supplier is key to the success of your project.

At this stage, the focus is to evaluate which providers can supply the platform and tools you need to meet the needs of your digital transformation plan and, based on that analysis, make the final decision. These are some characteristics and functionalities you should take into account when analyzing your possible edge computing providers:

  • Platform scalability: the ability to align resource use with demand in order to avoid over- and under-provisioning.
  • Overall performance and reliability: to ensure that your applications can continue working, even in failure or attack scenarios, you will want to review the service level agreement (SLA) to know what each provider offers.
  • A high geographical distribution and strategic location: a decentralized and distributed platform brings you closer to the user, and it’s a way to accelerate the delivery of content, as well as improve performance.
  • Serverless model: the provider is in charge of the operational, maintenance and management tasks of the platform and the network, so you only have to worry about developing your products and serving your users.
  • Interoperability and open standards: currently, a platform needs to offer minimal complexity to integrate with third-party systems and thus avoid vendor lock-in, or dependence on a single provider.
  • Modern and customizable tools: to ensure that you are using the latest technology and adapt them to your specific needs.
  • Modularity to activate or deactivate functions: a modular system gives you the freedom to use only the functions and tools you need according to the demand of the moment and what you need to develop on the platform.
  • Security with a zero-trust approach: security is a cornerstone when choosing a provider. Choose one that can provide multilayer security and perimeters at the edge of the network, which prevents your origin from being affected.
  • Fast deployment and migration: the ability to quickly deploy and start using your new platform will facilitate the digital transformation process and add agility to your team’s workflow.

Move your applications and websites to the edge

Leading consulting firms in the technology sector, such as Gartner and IDC, have considered edge computing one of the top 10 technology trends impacting both infrastructure and operations, making it the most modern solution to implement, expand or optimize your infrastructure.

If you’ve chosen an edge computing platform, like Azion’s, and your entire plan has gone smoothly so far, the next step is to move your applications and websites to the edge, as well as start developing your own edge functions and edge applications. To do this flawlessly, it’s important to have the help and support of your new partner in every stage of the process.

At Azion, in addition to a fast migration process and support all the time, our platform is friendly for developers, which makes the tasks of this phase simpler. For example, one of our success stories is NZN, one of the most relevant content creators in Brazil. Thanks to Azion’s Edge Computing Platform and its ease of use, NZN was able to develop more than 100 edge applications and reduce load time by 50% in just one month.

Build a long-time partnership

Digital transformation doesn’t end with the implementation of a new platform. From now on, its optimal performance will depend on the fulfillment of daily tasks, as well as the rapid solution of any problem that may affect it. In this sense, it’s important to have the support of your provider and, in this way, build a long-term and collaborative relationship.

Before contracting a service, know the support plans, benefits and the scope of these that they offer you. This will ensure that you’ve a partner, but also an ally, at all times and ensure that you can enjoy all the benefits of an edge platform in practice. In addition to the technical features we mentioned above, an edge computing provider, such as Azion, will provide you with:

  • Permanent support service: with a team of specialists who will help you solve any problems or failures in the system, which you can access through various channels and with guaranteed availability according to the level of support contracted.
  • Protection and mitigation of cyberattacks: the provider is able to create a plan that includes a multi-layered security perimeter, using modern resources such as Web Application Firewall, Network Layer and DDoS Protection.
  • Transparency and observability: to monitor the operation of your system and thus be able to generate valuable insights to make the best decisions for your business.

Do you want to know everything that the Azion’s Edge Computing Platform has for you? You can create a free account to start testing our products or contact the sales team to create your digital transformation plan and move to the edge now.

Reference:

[1] Lowndes, M. & Vasudevan, A. (2021) Choose the Right Digital Commerce Platform Architecture. Stamford, CT: Gartner.