Creating an exceptional user experience has long been one of the most important factors determining a business’ success or failure. What’s changed recently is that businesses are now more likely to interact with end users via digital channels rather than face-to-face. This means that the quality of the user experience is now defined by the digital infrastructure the business uses to connect with those end users.
Specifically, businesses need to deploy distributed, interconnected digital infrastructure at the edge to get closer to end users, aggregate the data they need to understand them better, and securely and reliably analyze that data to mine actionable insights. They must also be able to pair local compute with on-demand capabilities to ensure applications and services that perform well and respond quickly to changing customer demands.
Today’s digital businesses have access to more data than ever before. The challenge is that they’re using a very small portion of the available data to directly support their user experience optimization efforts. One reason for this is that many businesses still lack the edge infrastructure needed to aggregate data, filter out the noise, feed the right data into analytics tools, extract insights from those tools, and apply those insights to design better, more personalized services.
This lack of infrastructure at the digital edge is a key shortcoming. It’s no wonder that a recent IDC paper predicts that businesses will ramp up their edge spending:
“Investment in edge infrastructure will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.8%—significantly faster than core at just 6.0%.”
In this blog post, we’ll look at how businesses can make smart investments at the digital edge to meet the high expectations of both customers and employees.
Make digital infrastructure an enabler for user experience, not a roadblock
The problem that far too many businesses face these days is that they’re pursuing digital transformation solely for the sake of digital transformation. They lack an overall strategy to guide their digital infrastructure investments, which means they’re likely spending millions of dollars based on nothing more than intuition.
In contrast, businesses that let their user experience strategies guide their digital transformations can make more informed decisions about the digital infrastructure they need, rather than trying to work within the constraints of their legacy infrastructure. They can decide what steps to take first to understand and serve end users better. Then, they can target their investments to get the “digital muscle” needed to achieve those goals.
Platform Equinix® is a global digital infrastructure platform designed to make it quick and easy for businesses to get the capabilities they need to optimize their user experience. This could include:
- Deploying single-tenant bare metal compute and storage capacity on demand
- Implementing virtual network functions to increase network agility without the cost and complexity of physical hardware
- Creating dedicated virtual connections to bring together their global digital infrastructure and ecosystem partners
All these actions can be performed in minutes from our self-service web portals. Or, Equinix customers can go a step further by automating their infrastructure provisioning and management. Equinix digital services are API-enabled and include support for Infrastructure as Code tools such as Terraform. This means that once you’ve decided which digital infrastructure capabilities you need to be more responsive to end users, you can consistently deploy and re-deploy those capabilities in different locations throughout the world, while removing the potential for human error.
Leverage the full value of digital ecosystems
Businesses that deploy on Platform Equinix get access to the largest and most diverse digital ecosystems on the planet. Whether you need cloud, network, security or SaaS capabilities, you can find exactly what you need, where you need it, from the world’s most trusted providers. With help from Equinix, there’s no limit to what you can do to serve your end users better.
One example of the power of the Equinix digital ecosystem is our partnership with Cisco. Our collaborative solutions are designed to solve problems for our shared customers and empower them on their digital transformation journeys. For instance, we work together to help customers deploy their ideal hybrid multicloud architecture, supported by modernized network infrastructure for agile, high-performance connectivity. We also make it easier for customers to access network analytics and end-to-end encryption capabilities, thus giving them the secure edge that they need to support sensitive workloads without placing user data at risk.
Customers can also access Cisco’s leading collaboration tools and applications with the global scale of Platform Equinix. This can be especially helpful as businesses continue to adopt remote and hybrid work policies in the post-pandemic era. Our joint customers can offer their employees the tools they need to do their jobs well from wherever they are in the world. This helps create a virtuous cycle: Businesses can keep valued employees engaged in their work, which in turn motivates and empowers the employees to create a better experience for customers.
Use case: Personalizing content delivery
In the early days of digital streaming, many customers were attracted by the novelty and convenience of being able to stream directly from their devices. Now that the streaming market has matured and customers have practically endless options competing for their time and attention, it’s more important than ever for content and digital media (CDM) companies to double down on user experience as a way to set themselves apart. This means not just providing personalized content recommendations, but also delivering content when, where and how users want it.
Of course, there are a variety of infrastructure challenges involved with doing this. CDM companies need strong compute infrastructure at the digital edge to get closer to end users where they reside. This allows them to collect and process user data without delay, while also caching content closer to where end users will eventually consume it.
With the right user data and context, CDM companies can tailor content delivery based on user preferences, location and past behavior. The end result is a more personalized and engaging experience. For example, streamers can examine the context of a user’s device capabilities and network conditions, and then optimize content delivery to ensure smooth playback with minimal buffering. To achieve this, CDM companies need to measure the user experience inside their applications and consistently upgrade their infrastructure capabilities any time they fall short of user expectations.
Why Platform Equinix for optimizing user experience
When businesses pursue digital transformation to support their user experience strategies, there are a variety of challenges they’ll have to overcome, including:
- Legacy systems based on centralized data centers, which make it slow and difficult to reach users at the digital edge. Replacing these systems or integrating them with modernized ones is essential to success in the digital age.
- Data silos that make it impossible to get a consistent, holistic view of end users. Businesses need to break through these silos by building a comprehensive edge-to-cloud data architecture, which allows them to collect data from anywhere and access it from anywhere else.
- Security and sovereignty concerns. A great user experience won’t count for much if you have to put sensitive data at risk in order to get it.
- Lack of internal expertise. The digital world is changing all the time, and it often takes an expert that lives and breathes digital infrastructure every day to keep up with that change.
Platform Equinix can help our customers overcome all these challenges and more. Equinix is the only digital infrastructure provider that offers customers a global footprint of data centers in strategic locations worldwide, on-demand infrastructure capabilities that make it quick and easy to expand, and the flexibility to partner with the service providers that best meet their unique business needs.
To learn more about how great user experiences start with the right edge infrastructure, read the IDC Spotlight paper Create Exceptional Customer Experiences with Data, AI and Edge.
Also, learn more about how Equinix can help you drive competitive advantage by delivering digital experiences at the edge.
 Jennifer Cooke, Create Exceptional Customer Experience with Data, AI and Edge, An IDC Spotlight Paper sponsored by Equinix, August 2023, Doc #US51191723.