Every now and again a technology comes along that escapes its tank in the IT department. Before you know it people at the front desk are discussing it with customers.
Then the business needs a strategy related to the said technology because everyone is talking about it. Even at the school gates parents are talking about something called blockchain instead of the next play date for their kids. And MPs are using the term so as not to appear out of touch.
This is a bit of a headache for the IT department. Take blockchain. There is a currently a seemingly huge gap between perceived blockchain adoption in businesses and actual adoption.
For example if you look at a recent survey from Deloitte, you will be under the impression that everyone is doing it. It found that 74% of the executives at global businesses said their company saw a compelling business case for the use of blockchain, and many said they were moving forward with the technology.
The survey found that over half (53%) of those using blockchain said they were using it for supply chain-focused systems, 51% for internet of things integration projects and over 40% in projects related to digital records.
I presume Deloitte interviewed business executives and not IT leaders because according to a recent Gartner survey, only 1% of CIOs were running blockchain projects and only 8% were either planning to do so in the short term or experimenting with the technology now.
David Furlonger, vice-president and Gartner fellow said blockchain adoption and deployment massively hyped.
“Rushing into blockchain deployments could lead organisations to significant problems of failed innovation, wasted investment, rash decisions and even rejection of a game-changing technology,” he warned.
There are public examples of blockchain implementations and press teams are making a lot of noise about them. Gone are the days when the latest technology developments were kept quiet for fear of losing advantage, today every blockchain project is proclaimed from the roof tops. This is magnifying the technologies use.
That is not to say it won’t be the biggest thing since sliced bread. It might well be.
There are compelling stories being told. For example HSBC and Dutch bank ING said their trial of blockchain’s application to trade financing has been a success, leading the way to faster, cheaper and more secure transactions. The success could pave the way for a blockchain-based trade financing utility.
Blockchain has its roots in the financial service sector as the technology underpinning bitcoin, but there are also examples of it being tested out in other sectors. Processes that require data security, the ability to share with certain parties and a guarantee that information has not been tampered with are seen as potential applications for the technology.
Other examples of blockchain’s use outside the finance sector include Sweden’s land registry authority, Lantmäteriet, which is using it in a pilot system for recording property-related transactions.
Meanwhile, the Dubai government is introducing a biometric border checking system that uses blockchain to ensure sensitive data can only be seen by the digital passport holder and the relevant authorities.
But according to Gartner only 1% of IT leaders are doing it now and only 8% plan to soon.
I would be interested to hear from anyone that is running a blockchain project. Please post your views. So, again, who is right, Gartner or Deloitte, or even both?