As the International Blockchain Week draws to an end in Shanghai where uniting the different Blockchain technology networks was one of the central themes, and the announcements from large organizations exploring Blockchain gain momentum, an important question lingers - what would make Blockchain a viable option for an enterprise?
There has been a lot of recent interest in Blockchain, in fact it is approaching a peak on Gartner’s hype-cycle.
A recent report focused on enterprise Blockchain – “The Authoritative Guide to Blockchain for Enterprises” (“Guide”) illustrates this, with global interest in Blockchain eclipsing that in Fintech, the Internet of things, cloud computing and data analytics.
Source: The Definitive Guide to Blockchain for Enterprises, Google Trends
The reality is that most enterprises operate under some form of existing regulation, are either themselves an intermediary, or are working within an eco-system of value chain partners who are intermediaries. So, when one hears of Blockchain enabling decentralization and replacement of the central authority (replaced by the Blockchain itself) and disintermediation as a main thrust, it raises some concerns in addition to the opportunities it presents.
Organizations do realize that despite concerns, they cannot ignore Blockchain, so many are starting to explore Blockchain technology via a proof-of-concept. Before starting with a particular solution or selecting a vendor, however, it is critical that one assess the many considerations that come into play when selecting the best approach to Blockchain.
The fore-mentioned Guide provides some valuable insights. Firstly, it clears up the limited view of Blockchain as an avenue for mainly disintermediation by providing a more circumspect perspective on what Blockchain can do for enterprises. It also highlights various Blockchain eco-system participants (close to a 100 different companies including infrastructure, middleware, application, and consortium participants are mentioned in the context of their participation), and the Guide highlights key considerations enterprises need to make when exploring an approach to Blockchain.
" When one speaks with enterprise decision makers, there are more questions about Blockchain than answers, illustrating the challenge with Blockchain when it comes to an enterprise – the fact is that there are a multitude of complex considerations. "
When one speaks with enterprise decision makers, there are more questions about Blockchain than answers, illustrating the challenge with Blockchain when it comes to an enterprise – the fact is that there are a multitude of complex considerations.
Some of these questions include: How will implementing Blockchain impact my business? How will it impact customer experience? What is the impact on my partner eco-system including my supply chain? How will I ensure privacy, security, and integrity? What type of use cases makes sense for my business? What platform is best suited for my needs, does it scale? How do I handle regulatory requirements? Where do I start? And the questions go on.
The answer, if there is one-answer, is that “it depends.” And as cliché as it sounds, it really is true. What this really means is that there is no one approach or “secret recipe” that would apply. Also, as the Guide points out, Blockchain doesn’t make sense for everyone and for many use cases. One has to go through a process of understanding the business, application and user needs, and take into considerations external factors such as the regulatory environment, etc. before determining the approach.
" Blockchain doesn’t make sense for everyone and for many use cases. "
So what are some of the things that are important to consider when deciding on Blockchain? According to The Authoritative Guide to Blockchain for Enterprises:
There are multiple considerations an enterprise needs to keep in mind in order to assess the best technology, platform, solution, and overall approach to their Blockchain implementation. These include: