New Ably Study Reveals That Two-Thirds of Organizations with Self-built Realtime Edge Messaging Infrastructure Have Experienced Significant Downtime in the Past 12-18 Months

Majority of organizations think the challenges of DIY edge messaging infrastructure will slow down the delivery of future digital projects

Ably, the edge messaging platform to power live and collaborative online experiences, reported that two-thirds (65%) of organizations experienced an outage or significant downtime in the past 12-18 months with the edge messaging infrastructure they had built in-house. Edge messaging infrastructure is critical to last-mile data delivery to power the experiences consumers expect, such as live chat, order delivery tracking, and document collaboration.

Based on a survey of 500 U.S. and U.K. engineering leaders, the State of Edge Messaging report highlights the challenges facing organizations as they look to build and maintain the infrastructure required to power live and collaborative online experiences, now and in the future.

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Ably’s State of Edge Messaging report reveals that:

  • 90% of organizations think challenges with edge messaging infrastructure built in-house will slow down the delivery of future digital projects
  • Ensuring continuity of service (46%) and delivering the same quality of services to larger volumes of users (43%) were identified as the biggest concerns

“Delivering shared live and collaborative experiences separates the business winners from the rest, yet the engineering complexity required to manually stitch together disparate systems remains a significant hurdle,” said Matthew O’Riordan, co-founder and CEO of Ably. “Organizations need to find ways to simplify and speed up the delivery of realtime connections with their existing stacks to keep up with customer demand; otherwise, they’ll drag down digital transformation at the precise time it needs to accelerate.”

Drain on in-house time and resources

Most (89%) of the organizations surveyed believe a scalable and reliable realtime edge messaging infrastructure will give them a competitive advantage in the future. However, the research reveals that many organizations have found building such infrastructure to be a much larger undertaking than they originally envisaged.

  • Over half (53%) of organizations say the amount of engineering time required to complete their first edge messaging infrastructure project was more than expected. On average, it took 3.5 months longer than they planned.
  • Over half (52%) of organizations say it took more engineering resources than expected to complete their first edge messaging infrastructure project. On average, they required two additional engineers, with it taking on average 10.2 “person months” to build their edge messaging infrastructure in-house.
  • Nearly all (91%) organizations say they faced challenges during their development of edge messaging infrastructure. The main challenges cited were project costs (46%), development time overrun/late project delivery (41%), and the overall solution being too complex to use or update (38%).

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The cost of maintaining realtime expectations

When organizations were asked what is most critical to them when it comes to their edge messaging infrastructure, reliability (50%), high availability of service (50%), and integrity of data (44%) were the most commonly cited responses.

For most organizations, the cost of operating and maintaining homegrown edge messaging infrastructure will only rise and result in growing technical debt. As a result, many see the benefits of switching to a realtime platform-as-a-service (or managed service provider).

  • A majority (60%) say switching would improve the existing realtime user experience with a more stable and dependable infrastructure.
  • Over half (56%) say it would reduce the risk of delivering new user experiences that require new edge messaging capabilities.
  • Over half (55%) say it would enable them to redeploy engineering bandwidth away from infrastructure and into core product work to move faster.
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