Gartner Symposium Australia: Approaching the Digital Edge

Ravi Ravishankar

Recently I had the privilege of presenting at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Australia with digital strategist and author Joe Weinman. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with many analysts and CIOs, Joe and I discussed architecting IT to create digital business models that cater for the digital edge. You can download our presentation here.

Digital is in every business’ DNA

Faster than many of us realize, digital has become the new norm. Gone are the days when we talk about companies doing digital as it is no longer a differentiator – we all do it. Digital is persistently transforming all industries and as a result, has become the growth engine of the global economy.

The manufacturing industry for example, is using the industrial internet, integrating physical equipment with data analytic tools, wireless networks and other networking functions to improve processes and production. On a personal level, many of us cut transport costs by ride-sharing while accessing retail stores through multiple channels to speed up our shopping.

By 2021 the digital economy’s contribution to global gross domestic product is forecast to grow to 24.7%, up from 22.8% in 2016. This two per cent increase signals a rise of over $10 trillion dollars in just five years.


Interconnection has truly helped to scale the digital economy

If we think back to the year 2000 we were starting to network. Now, 17 years later, our economy houses digital ecosystems consisting not just of networks, but engaging with content, financial systems, cloud, enterprises, payments and the Internet of Things.

Business models are shifting and demanding interconnected platforms. Our ability to interconnect – to exchange data privately between companies – is key for our digital economy.

The Global Interconnection Index predicts global Interconnection Bandwidth will outpace the growth of internet traffic by two times and 6 times the volume by 2020. This will create 5,000Tbps of installed internet bandwidth. Read more from our previous blog post.

What does this look like? Imagine this; all you will need is one minute to process 1.9B PayPal transactions, 4.5M Uber driver streams, 50B IoT device streams, 18.8B emails with attachments, 938K corporate training videos, 827M UCC calls, 825M document uploads and 35M pre-production 4K video streams….all at the same time!

Across the Asia-Pacific region bandwidth growth is forecast to hit 1,120Tbps at a 46% projected annual growth rate through 2020. Sydney is the second largest Interconnection metro in the region, following Singapore and ahead of Hong Kong and Tokyo. Cloud and IT services are expected to consume the most Interconnection bandwidth at 20% and the banking and insurance sectors will grow at 71% to support digital engagement models.

At the same time, Deloitte expects Australia’s economy to receive $139 billion dollars from digital technologies by 2020, up from the $79 billion contribution in 2014. It is no wonder 93.2% of Australian businesses consider platform-based business models a strategic imperative and are using them to create new ecosystems to place the business at the center.

Architecting your digital edge for success

With the world’s digital progress, enterprises no longer hold the entirety of their computing inside their office walls. Cloud and mobile devices are just two examples of the technologies that have expanded the boundaries of businesses to exist as multiple, geographically dispersed digital edges. And management and control of this edge requires new strategy that will scale for digital.

To understand the key trends driving Interconnection and the need for businesses to formulate a digital strategy and a unified Interconnected digital infrastructure, watch Joe’s summary in this video.

Architecting for the edge requires creating a state that will enable multi-application workflows. A digital platform must overcome scaling constraints of physics, proximity, gravity and integration and allow for mobile, private cloud, partners and global markets, considering the following:

Interconnection-first architecture will optimize multipoint connectivity and establish direct, private traffic exchange points between users and local services. To assist business architects with the development of their digital platforms, we have created a resource called the IOA Knowledge Base. It provides detailed design blueprints to help companies leverage Interconnection when crafting their digital platforms and customer experience. Check it out to gain access to experienced architects, view use cases and discover step-by-step approaches to prepare your business for the digital edge.